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Article updated: 12/28/2012 5:14 PM

Sex offender accused of hanging around play area

By Christopher Placek

A convicted sex offender was arrested on criminal trespassing charges for hanging around a children's play area at a McDonald's in Elk Grove Township, authorities said Friday.

Joseph O'Brien, 36, of the 9900 block of Linda Lane in Maine Township, was arrested Dec. 22 at the restaurant on the 1900 block of East Higgins Road after the manager called to report him loitering there, according to the Cook County sheriff's office.

Investigators said witnesses told them O'Brien was near a table in the indoor play area where several mothers and children were sitting, and he was staring at an 11-year-old girl.

The restaurant manager told authorities O'Brien had been asked to leave the play area on several other occasions.

Sheriff's officials said O'Brien is a registered sex offender who had been staying at a motel near the restaurant and not at his registered address in Maine Township. As a result, they charged him with a felony count of failing to update his address to police.

Since 1995, O'Brien has been arrested 24 times, including a 2001 arrest and conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse/bodily harm. He was charged with failing to register as a sex offender in October 2006 and July 2010.

His bail was set at $75,000, and he remains in custody at Cook County jail. He is due in court Jan. 18.

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