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Article updated: 3/19/2013 11:07 AM

4th lawsuit filed against former Schaumburg cops

By Barbara Vitello

A Schaumburg family on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the village of Schaumburg and three former undercover officers saying officers arrested a family member without proper cause, tried to search the family home without a warrant and improperly seized family property.

Named in the lawsuit are former officers John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien, who were charged earlier this year in DuPage County with criminal drug conspiracy after authorities say they skimmed drugs from police seizures and sold the product through a former informant. This makes the fourth such lawsuit against the former officers, who pleaded not guilty to the charges and were freed on bond.

The suit also names Schaumburg officer Alan Takei, the village of Hanover Park and Hanover Park officers Joseph Ciancio, Steven Cortese, Victor DiVito, Steven Stoltz, Matthew McDonnell, Mark Atkinson and Daniel Kosartes.

Schaumburg and Hanover Park police officials declined to discuss the lawsuit.

"This early in the civil suit. It would not be proper for us to comment or discuss the allegations," said Schaumburg Police Department spokesman Sgt. John Nebl.

According to the complaint, officers arrived at the home of John Abel Sr., Christine Abel, John Abel Jr. and Nicholas Abel on March 14, 2012, looking for a family friend who hadn't resided there for some time, said family attorney Amanda S. Yarusso.

According to the complaint, Nicholas Abel and John Abel Jr. were home at the time, but John Abel Jr. left. The family says police searched and arrested Nicholas Abel without probable cause and searched the family's residence without a warrant. At some point Christine and John Abel Sr. arrived home and refused to consent to a search of their home, according to the lawsuit. Yarusso said police returned with a warrant, "caused property damage" during a search and seized money that belonged to the Abel family. The lawsuit says officers "only inventoried some of the money they seized and stole the rest."

At about the same time, police arrested John Abel Jr. several miles away from the home and charged him with delivering drugs. The lawsuit says John suffered a fractured hand during the arrest and was denied medical treatment. Court records show John, 22 at the time, was on parole for a 2009 burglary for which he was sentenced to boot camp. Prosecutors dismissed the 2012 drug charges against John Abel last month. A judge dismissed the charges against Nicholas Abel, according to the complaint.

Family members seek damages for the money they say was stolen and for emotional distress.

Village officials from Hanover Park and Schaumburg did not return calls asking for comment.

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