Accused former Schaumburg cop: I found faith
"You may recognize my face. You may recognize the name. If you don't, you can Google me."
That's how former Schaumburg undercover police officer John Cichy introduced himself to viewers in a video posted April 4 on YouTube.
The one-minute, 57-second video marked the first time Cichy has spoken publicly in the nearly three months since DuPage County authorities charged him and former fellow undercover officers Matthew Hudak and Terrance O'Brien with multiple felonies, including criminal drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance, theft and official misconduct.
Cichy didn't discuss the allegations against him or the fallout, which included the resignations of the three Schaumburg officers, the dismissal of drug-related charges against 19 former defendants, and the filing of four federal lawsuits by onetime defendants who claim the former cops threatened them and acted without probable cause.
Instead Cichy talked about his faith, which he had intended to profess publicly at a Bartlett church later this month. Cichy has since reconsidered, according to his attorney Jay Fuller, who said Cichy is "greatly disappointed" but is acting on Fuller's advice not to make any public statements at this time. On Thursday evening, the video was removed from YouTube.
"I want you to come out. I want you to listen. I want you to hear what's happened. I want you to hear about what God -- yes, I said it -- what God has done to me, for me, within me," Cichy had said on the video.
"This isn't a show or gimmick," he said. "This is real."
Barbara Mill believes him. Operations director for Wheaton's Koinonia House, a national ministry that serves prison inmates, parolees and their families, Mill and her husband, Executive Director Manny Mill, lead the weekly Bible study Cichy has been attending since he was bailed out of DuPage County jail in January.
Citing Cichy's avid reading of the Bible and the "powerful testimony" of faith he made several weeks ago during a Thursday study session, Barbara Mill says she's convinced Cichy's conversion is genuine.
"He shared how everything in the world he considered important: money, power, position, it had all been stripped away. But he recognized now he had a relationship with God and that's what truly mattered," Mill said.
Mill understands some might question the timing of Cichy's conversion now that he faces the prospect of prison time.
"People might have thought that of my husband," she said of Manny, who spent two years in prison for transporting stolen goods. He underwent a conversion and upon his release attended Wheaton College. He later became an ordained minister and co-founded Koinonia House, Barbara Mill said.
It has been 25 years since her husband's release "and he has never lost the joy of salvation and his conversion," she said. "I see the same thing in John."
DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin declined to comment about the video.
"We're going to try our case in court," he said.
O'Brien's attorney, Robert Irsuto, says he respects that Cichy wants to profess his faith, but he said if Cichy was his client, he wouldn't advise it. Attorney Thomas Glasgow, who represents Hudak, declined to comment citing the pending litigation.