The mother of Cameron Godee, a 2009 St. Charles East High School graduate who was killed in a drunken driving crash, has vowed to file a complaint against a Kane County judge.
Mary Godee said she absolutely plans to take her case to the Judicial Inquiry Board after a heated court hearing Thursday in which Kane County Judge Timothy Sheldon said in a packed courtroom that while Cameron Godee's parents were out of town, high school kids had a party at Godee's home before the crash. "You were gone. You can't blame everything on (the driver in the crash) when you and your wife left your home unattended."
Contact information ( * required )
Sheldon also said he received a threatening letter from Mary Godee.
The outburst came after Cameron's father, Gregory, stood up and yelled, "How much did they pay you this time?" after Sheldon said he wasn't ready to "give up" on the man who caused the crash.
"(Sheldon) lashed out and blamed me and my husband for our son's death. What Judge Sheldon said to me yesterday and my husband in an open courtroom devastated me even more than I thought I could be," Mary Godee said Friday. "I expected justice, and we were let down."
She also denied she would ever threaten a judge with a letter. "I am a woman of very high morals, and I know right from wrong. (Sheldon) opened his mouth. I will not have my name slandered," said Godee, who now lives in Elburn.
Relatives of Godee were upset that Sheldon gave Onofrio "Josh" Lorusso, 20, of Wayne, 30 days in jail and 90 days on an alcohol monitoring device for violating his probation.
Prosecutors and Cameron's relatives wanted prison time after Lorusso was caught at an underage drinking party Nov. 5, 2011, in Des Plaines.
Citing "extraordinary circumstances," Sheldon previously sentenced Lorusso to 180 days in jail and three years' probation after pleading guilty to causing the June 14, 2009, crash that killed the front passenger, 17-year-old Cameron, and injured two others.
Lorusso faced up to 14 years in prison back then -- and this week.
Sheldon could not be reached for comment Friday. Gary Johnson, Lorusso's attorney, said the sentence was "the absolute right thing to do."
Mary Godee said Cameron was headed to Arkansas State University on a partial rugby scholarship, but he really wanted to join the U.S. Coast Guard to help others and make a difference. She said Cameron -- her only child -- was funny, humble, athletic and caring.
"My son was the child everybody wished for," Godee said. "(Lorusso) didn't learn his lesson. My son died in vain."
As part of Lorusso's original sentence, he was ordered to work with representatives from Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists to talk to high school students and speak on victim impact panels that other DUI offenders must attend as part of their sentences.
The Schaumburg-based group no longer wants to work with Lorusso. AAIM Deputy Director Rita Kreslin worked with Lorusso on several panels and said she was disappointed in him now.
"He continued to speak (three times) even after he got busted (on Nov. 5)," she said. "Josh was very fortunate (with Sheldon's original sentence). He knew it. He even told me how lucky he was to have another chance. He blew it."
Lorusso's probation ends in May 2013, and Kreslin wondered if a harsher sentence in the beginning could have helped in the long run.
"If the judge hadn't been so light on (Lorusso) in the first place, maybe he wouldn't have re-violated (his probation). It's hard to say," Kreslin said. "The bottom line is he's getting another chance. I would hope to God he's learned his lesson by now."