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Article updated: 5/11/2011 3:21 PM

Prosecutors: Elgin cop planted cellphone

Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan

 
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A former Elgin police officer accused of planting evidence at a crime scene has been released on his own recognizance while his case is pending.

Michael Sullivan, 53, of Sycamore, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three counts of official misconduct and two counts of obstructing justice.

At a bond hearing Wednesday afternoon, Assistant State's Attorney Alice Tracy said Sullivan is accused of planting a cellphone at the scene of an April 26 aggravated battery and robbery.

Authorities on Tuesday announced the charges against Sullivan, a veteran of nearly 10 years of the Elgin Police Department, saying he was trying to get a promotion from his position as a patrol officer.

Tracy would not elaborate on why Sullivan would have planted a cellphone.

Sullivan's defense attorney stressed that Sullivan told his supervisor about his conduct instead of police confronting him.

"It's not like they found something and called him in. I'm hoping that will weigh in his favor," defense attorney Brian Telander said outside the courtroom. But he stopped short of saying his client merely made a mistake. "I'm saying he had second thoughts and realized he's not that type of person and came forward."

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon and Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda have declined to discuss specifics of the April robbery that sparked the charges against Sullivan.

Swoboda put Sullivan on administrative leave May 1 and Sullivan resigned two days later.

Telander argued to Kane County Judge James Hallock that Sullivan was not a flight risk.

Hallock agreed and Sullivan did not have to post the $2,500 in order to be free while his case was pending.

Telander said Sullivan has four children -- ages 5 through 27 -- and the youngest, who was adopted as a crack-addicted baby, has special needs. Both the youngest child and Sullivan also have surgeries planned in the near future, Telander said.

Telander also noted that Sullivan is a former junior high school principal and part-time criminal justice professor at Elgin Community College and volunteers for the Special Olympics.

"He's a wonderful guy," Telander said. "Obviously, we're saddened by the charges. Our hope is we can come to a resolution that's fair to both sides."

Sullivan is due in court on June 23.

If convicted of the most serious charges, he could face a prison sentence of up to five years but probation also is an option.

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