Chicago, Illinois is one of the nation’s most anti-gun cities, which is also why it has one of the highest murder and sexual assault rates of any large metro area in the U.S.
One of Chicago’s methods of reducing violence is through a program called CeaseFire, which “sends former gang members into targeted neighborhoods to defuse conflicts before they erupt into violence.”
CeaseFire is an arm of CureViolence.org, an anti-gun organization that seeks “to reduce violence globally using disease control and behavior change methods.”
So when Richard Hernandez was working for CeaseFire, he was supposed to be serving his community as a “Violence Interrupter.” But instead of interrupting any violence, he was carrying it out an unassuming 17-year-old girl as he raped her in a junkyard.
According to the Sun Times:
Hernandez faces 36 counts charging him with sexually assaulting and kidnapping a teenage girl while he worked for the program, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. He’s among at least nine employees of the anti-violence program to face serious criminal charges in recent years.
Hernandez, 46, started as a temporary worker in December 2010 before becoming a $16-an-hour “violence interrupter” in May 2013, records show. The program is affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Violent criminals often hide in positions of authority. And they always prefer their victims (and any potential witnesses) to be unarmed. That way they can perpetrate any manner of crime without fear of resistance or retribution.
Hernandez should have never been allowed anywhere near an organization such as this. Given his extensive criminal past, the city was quite literally “asking for it” when they put him in a position of authority. Reports reveal:
Hernandez is a ranking member of the Maniac Latin Disciples gang, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to prison for a 2006 gun conviction and a 2005 drug conviction, court records show.
Tio Hardiman, a former director of CeaseFire Illinois, said he was unaware of Hernandez’s continued involvement in a gang. But he said Hernandez was effective in cooling off conflicts in Humboldt Park and Hermosa.
“You take a chance on these guys, but some of them drop out,” Hardiman said. “If [Hernandez] is found guilty, he should be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. The focus should be on the healing process for this young lady.”
Hardiman himself was arrested last summer and charged with domestic violence. The charges were later dropped. He is now running for governor of Illinois.
CeaseFire’s contract with Chicago expired in September 2013 and was not renewed by the city.