An Algonquin police officer retired Friday after having been placed on paid leave when a Crystal Lake woman accused him of threatening behavior.
Officer Nicholas Corso, a 20-year-veteran of the department, had been placed on paid leave Oct. 16 when Elizabeth Weaver was granted an order of protection against Corso.
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"I decided to retire today because of the system where we are living under, where people can accuse you of things and you're forced to spend money to defend yourself," he said.
Algonquin police, which started an internal investigation when the order of protection was granted, accused him of improperly using police computers and driving to Carpentersville during his shift, Corso said. He denied any wrongdoing but said he couldn't afford to defend himself if those charges were brought to court. "I put in my 20 years. I feel that's long enough," he said.
Algonquin Police Chief Russell Laine said the investigation found Corso had not violated any laws. As for whether Corso broke any police department rules, "the rules don't apply to him because he's not an officer here anymore," Laine said, declining to give additional information.
In her October court filing, Weaver stated she ended her three-month relationship with Corso after finding out he was married. Weaver stated she was afraid for her safety and the safety of her three children after getting text messages from Corso in which he said he might kill her father and could have someone follow her, demanded naked photos, and stated he would call the Department of Children and Family Services on her. She also said he once used a police-issued stun gun near her leg and arm in front of her children.
Corso denied all of Weaver's charges. As for threatening to kill her father, Corso said Weaver told him she was going to warn her father that Corso wanted to talk to him, so he sent her a text message saying, "What am I going to do? Go and kill him?" Corso said he met her father once.
Corso also said Weaver knew he was married and had offered to pay for his divorce, saying she was worth more than $8 million after her parents died. She later admitted she wasn't wealthy, he said.
"I regret getting involved with this woman and believing her. She took things we did while we were dating and happy with each other and made them into threats," he said.
Weaver declined to comment. Court records show Weaver has been divorced several times and also used the last names Wiest, Bogseth, Culkin and Blaney; she filed orders of protection against three men other than Corso in 2006, 2010 and 2011.
Corso was hired by the police department in April 1992 and had an annual salary of $89,100, said Michael Kumbera, assistant to the Algonquin village manager. Corso will have to apply for a pension to the police pension board, Laine said.
At a court hearing in Woodstock on Friday morning, the order of protection was vacated, and a restraining order was entered prohibiting Corso from contacting Weaver, and engaging in any abusive or harassing behavior toward her, said Peter Carroll, Weaver's attorney. Both parties agreed to the decision, he said.
Violating an order of protection is a misdemeanor offense, while violating a restraining order can result in being found in contempt of court but is not a criminal offense, Carroll explained.