Alan G. Rottman, 50, was acquitted of the charge on Jan. 23 following a two-day bench trial at the Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie. The charge stemmed from an alleged 2008 incident in which Rottman was accused of sexually assaulting the then-15-year-old daughter of a woman he was dating.
Following the acquittal, Rottman and his attorney, Elliot Zinger, sent out news releases detailing the ruling, hoping to restore Rottman's reputation. In a recent interview, Rottman said the incident never happened but the damage has been done.
"I'm tattooed for the rest of my life that I was even charged with this crime," said Rottman, a retired futures and commodities trader. "It is a major tattoo. It's forever on the Internet."
The alleged victim and her mother declined to comment.
Sally Daly, spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, commented generally that sexual assault cases can be challenging to prosecute for lack of evidence beyond victim testimony.
"We try these cases on a case-by-case basis," Daly said. "These charges were brought in good faith."
Wilmette police arrested Rottman on July 28, 2011 for sexual assault following statements the alleged victim and her mother, who lives in Wilmette, made to police and to state Department of Children and Family Services officials in 2010 and 2011.
Rottman was indicted in August 2011.
Judge Garritt Howard, a Cook County Circuit Court judge, said in his ruling last month that the alleged victim and her mother waited too long to report the crime, which was alleged to have happened in August 2008, to present a strong case for conviction. The delay, as well as inconsistencies in their statements, he said, brought into question their credibility.
"I'm viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution and I just can't see in the evidence that a conviction based upon this evidence would ever hold up," Howard said.
Rottman, father of children ages 17, 19 and 22, said he took no great joy from the ruling. He choked back tears when discussing the impact of the indictment and subsequent trial on his children.
"I knew I never did it. … So me being found not guilty, it didn't faze me in the slightest," Rottman said. "It fazed the people who loved me and cared for me. … To me, there was no victory."