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Husband: Man was looking in window
By Erin Holmes | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 2/8/2008 12:16 AM | Updated: 2/8/2008 6:47 AM

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On Aug. 13, prosecutors say, Kurt Hauser was on the prowl -- and his victim, separated from him by only a pane of glass, didn't know it.

As she undressed and got ready for bed in her Palatine bedroom, prosecutors contend, Hauser, a convicted sex offender, watched from the other side of the window.

He was caught when the woman's husband, outside to take out the trash, spotted Hauser there, "waiting, watching and preying on his wife," Assistant State's Attorney Matt Fakhoury said Thursday, the first day of Hauser's trial.

The husband, Bernardino Gomez, testified through an interpreter that Hauser was so close to the window his head was nearly touching it.

Hauser, 34, of the 200 block of East Palatine Road, faces several misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct related to summer peeping cases. He's on trial this week for just one, stemming from the alleged incident at Gomez's Greeley Street apartment.

He faces up to 364 days in prison if he is convicted.

In her opening statements Thursday, Assistant Public Defender Natalie Fredrickson said evidence during the trial will show that many of the prosecution's statements are in fact "misstatements, exaggerations and incorrect."

Prosecutors allege Hauser was in the bushes outside the Gomez apartment, looking at Gomez's naked wife through the open blinds. He later admitted the crime, police said, but also in part blamed the woman, saying she had piqued his interest by walking by the window, according to authorities and testimony.

Gomez testified he'd been walking the dog when he first passed Hauser on the sidewalk earlier that night. After he got home, Gomez said, he saw him again, this time peering in a lit-up window.

Gomez, who admitted he couldn't see what Hauser was looking at, said he asked him in English what he was doing, and Hauser walked off.

Palatine police, who staked out Hauser's home based on Gomez's description of the man he'd seen, later found Hauser crawling toward his front door in dark clothing, a Palatine sergeant testified.

Gomez later identified him.

Before the trial, the defense argued that police acted outside of their rights when they handcuffed Hauser at his home and put him in the back of a squad to take him to the Gomez home for an ID.

The defense requested that Cook County Judge Hyman Riebman overturn the arrest. That motion was denied.

The trial is set to continue at 9 a.m. today in the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

Hauser, who served prison time for a 1999 sex assault and was charged in two 1990s peeping cases, was arrested in August for a series of new incidents, including the one he's on trial for now. He's being held on $1.5 million bond, a sum authorities say reflects their belief that he is a danger to the community.