Palatine man acquitted of sex abuse charges
A Cook County judge said he believes something improper may have occurred in 2017 between two teenage girls and a Palatine man charged with sexually abusing them, but prosecutors failed to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Joseph Cataldo acquitted Santiago Rosales, 57, of the abuse charges Thursday after a bench trial at the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows.
"There is no doubt in my mind Mr. Rosales was up to something improper with those girls," said Cataldo, referring to items Rosales purchased for the now 15-year-old girls and places he took them. "The problem here is I don't believe the evidence presented is proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Cataldo noted discrepancies and inconsistent witness statements, along with a lack of physical evidence, when issuing his verdict.
The decision brought Rosales' brother to tears.
"The presumption of innocence prevailed," defense attorney Amy Seamann said.
The evidence "demonstrated that Mr. Rosales was taken advantage of -- if not by the girls -- then by the families of these girls who were motivated by a desire to stay in this country," she added.
Rosales, Seamann said, was attempting to help out fellow immigrants, and "as they say, no good deed goes unpunished."