An internal investigation has cleared a Naperville police officer of any wrongdoing in the death of Naperville North student Corey Walgren.
Documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune show an inquiry into the matter by the Naperville Police Department determined that Officer Brett Heun, the School Resource Officer, followed procedure and did not threaten the Naperville teen when questioning him on January 11 about the contents of his phone, which he suspected contained images of a consensual sexual encounter with a 16-year-old classmate. Shortly after that meeting, Corey took his own life, jumping from a downtown Naperville parking garage.
In a statement provided by the City of Naperville, city officials claim the matter was handled appropriately, saying:
“This was a tragic event, and the Naperville Police Department promptly initiated a review to ensure policies were followed. The investigation determined the school resource officer properly assisted the students’ deans in responding to a request for help concerning a sensitive matter. Considering the totality of the circumstances, this was not a matter involving police custody and it was handled appropriately.”
The Walgren family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Heun, the Police Department, and District 203, accusing authorities of causing their son “extreme, intolerable and excessive emotional and psychological distress,” in part by suggesting to Corey that he could be placed on a sex offender registry. Review of his phone showed no discernible images of any pornography.
Terry Ekl, the family’s attorney, dismissed the findings of the internal investigation, releasing a statement saying:
“The internal investigation conducted in connection with the tragic death of Corey Walgren is nothing more than a feeble attempt of the police department to justify the improper conduct of one of their officers. This was not an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Corey conducted by an independent agency. The Naperville Police Department was essentially investigating itself in a self-serving manner. The department chose who to interview, what facts to believe, and what conclusions they would reach. The report of this internal investigation is worthless and will have no impact on the outcome of this case.”
Naperville North’s Dean Stephen Madden and Dean James Konrad are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek and Kim Pirc report.
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