Internal investigation clears Naperville officer who questioned teen before suicide
The police officer involved in questioning a Naperville teen before his death by suicide early this year has been cleared as a result of an internal investigation, but he remains a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the boy's parents.
Naperville police Detective Brett Heun was found to have acted appropriately, according to an internal investigation conducted by Deputy Chief Jason Arres.
The investigation, summarized in a three-page report released to the news media in heavily redacted form, reviewed Heun's actions when he assisted with questioning 16-year-old Corey Walgren on Jan. 11 related to an allegation of criminal wrongdoing. The questioning took place in the dean's office at Naperville North High School, where Corey was a junior and Heun is the school resource officer.
A lawsuit filed by Walgren's parents, Douglas and Maureen Walgren of Naperville, accuses Heun and Naperville North deans James Konrad and Stephen Madden of questioning their son without reading him his rights to have a lawyer and to remain silent. It says the officer and the deans acted with "intent to cause Corey extreme and excessive psychological distress and fear" when they falsely told him they knew he possessed child pornography and would need to register as a sex offender.
The suit, which seeks $5 million in damages, claims Corey left school after being questioned and walked off the fifth story of a downtown Naperville parking deck to his death.
But the police internal investigation into Heun's conduct found the officer was "appropriate, respectful and professional," and "never raised his voice, threatened or attempted to coerce" Corey into answering questions or doing anything against his will.
The investigation determined Corey was not in police custody during his time in the dean's office, which is described as a brief period that involved a "calm and agreeable" conversation, in which the teen cooperated fully.
The report says Heun did not physically touch Corey or use physical force; he did not handcuff or arrest Corey or threaten to do the same; and he never requested backup or asked for Corey to be taken to the police station. It says the door of the dean's office was not locked, and Heun "had no intention of bringing criminal charges" against Corey.
The report concludes by saying Heun acted "in compliance with the police department's general orders."
Terry Ekl, the Walgrens' attorney, says he places no stock in the results.
"The report is absolutely worthless," he said. "This is an example of the Naperville Police Department investigating itself ... I put absolutely no weight whatsoever in that internal investigation. The police department chose who to interview; they chose who to believe and not believe."
The city, in a statement, called Corey's death "a tragic event" and said the police department's review ensured policies were followed. The city said Heun properly assisted the deans with "a sensitive matter," but the situation did not involve police custody and was handled appropriately.
The legal case against Heun, Konrad and Madden as well as the city of Naperville and Naperville Unit District 203 remains in federal court and is ongoing. Ekl said there are not yet any hearings scheduled.