WAUKEGAN, Ill. (STMW) – A Highland Park man who pleaded guilty in June to raping a woman on a North Shore bike path has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Eduardo Franco, 22, of the 500 block of Ravinia Road, was sentenced by Lake County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Stride to 22 years at 85 percent, which means he has to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can even be considered for parole, Reginald Mathews, the prosecutor in the case, said.

Franco plead guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault for the attack that occurred July 15, 2009. The Highland Park woman, who was 32 at the time of the assault, took the 12:35 a.m. Metra train from Chicago to the Ravinia station. She walked north from the station toward the Green Bay Trail, a 16-mile bike path that runs parallel to the Metra line,

The woman was on her cellphone when Franco attacked her from behind. Despite the woman’s repeated pleas that he leave her alone, Franco sexually assaulted her and took her cellphone. He also threw her shoes away.

Franco fled after the 15-minute assault and a good Samaritan assisted the woman, who ran down the street after Franco left the scene. Highland Park police performed DNA testing on the bite mark Franco left on the woman and on the semen recovered from the woman’s dress, Mathews said.

Police brought Franco in for questioning at which time he admitted the rape.

Franco’s attorney James Schwarzbach said, “All in all, I think the judge gave an appropriate sentence. He asked for less time considering Franco did not have a long history of criminal behavior.

His family also testified before the sentencing, including the mother of Franco’s 22-month-old daughter. The victim and her parents read victim impact statements before the sentence was handed down.

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