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Orland Park Drifter Pleads Not Guilty to Rape, Assault

Prosecutors continue to gather evidence, prepare to test DNA samples.

A drifter accused of violently molesting an 83-year-old Good Samaritan and threatening a man behind the Orland Park Home Depot this summer pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

Dennis Dodson, 35, has been charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, a Class X felony, and assault.

Prosecutors allege that, in September, , where he was living at the time. She had offered Dodson food and crackers two days prior, and returned to tell him she was working to find him a shelter.

Orland Park police say Dodson verbally threatened a Home Depot employee, one month prior.

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In court Thursday, state prosecutors formally requested copies of medical records involved in the case and asked for the court’s permission to test—and thereby partially destroy—parts of DNA evidence gathered at the crime scene.

Camille Bachli, Dodson’s public defender, objected to the state’s request, and a judge ruled that an independent expert would be required to oversee the process.

The next pretrial hearing is set for Dec. 20 at the Cook County Fifth Municipal District Courthouse in Bridgeview.

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