Four men charged with sexual abuse of Evanston teen

Patrick Svitek, Reporter

A nine-month investigation into a case involving an Evanston teen who solicited sex on Craigslist has ended with four arrests, police said Tuesday morning. 

The process started in August of last year, when police learned that a 14-year-old boy had posted an ad on the website looking for sex, according to authorities. Police said his parents worked with them to figure out who had answered the ad. Investigators also used emails, other computer records and cell phone billing information to determine who replied to the posting, according to authorities.

As a result, four Chicago-area men in their 40s and 50s were arrested over the past four months, police said.

The most recent arrest came Friday, when Glenn A. Lapidus, 46, was taken into custody at his home in Chicago, according to authorities. Lapidus, of the 2000 block of North Bissell Avenue, has been charged with five felonies: aggravated criminal sexual abuse, indecent solicitation of a child, solicitation to meet a minor, patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution and traveling to meet a minor.

Lapidus became an executive at the technology firm Merkle in December 2013. Before that, he worked in a senior-level position for IBM, according to Merkle. 

Jonathan Labe, 54, was the first of the four men arrested in connection with sexually abusing the teen. At the time, police said Labe, of the 900 block of Reba Place in Evanston, had responded to the ad, which did not say the teen’s real age. The teen later told police he informed Labe he was younger than 17 during the pair’s interactions. The two had sexual contact more than once before Labe was arrested Jan. 24, according to authorities.

Labe faces four felony charges, including one count each of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, indecent solicitation of child, solicitation to meet a minor and patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution. He has also been charged with two counts of contributing to the criminal delinquency of a minor and three counts of endangering the life or health of a child.

Labe’s LinkedIn profile says he worked for the Chicago Tribune from 2003 to 2008. The Tribune’s story on his arrest confirmed he worked as an online producer for the newspaper in the early 2000s.

The investigation also led to the arrests of 43-year-olds Vaselin K. Minev and Alejandro Costilla on Feb. 25 and March 3 respectively. Both men face felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution. Minev, of the 6200 block of Lincoln Avenue in Morton Grove, has also been charged with indecent solicitation of a child, solicitation to meet a minor and traveling to meet a minor. Costilla is from the 5800 block of North Campbell Avenue in Chicago.

The suspects have all been released on bond and are awaiting their next court appearances, according to authorities. At the time of his arrest, police said Lapidus was due in court May 15.

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Twitter: @PatrickSvitek