Rosemont cop charged in armed robberies seeks disability pension

 
 
Updated 12/12/2018 6:05 PM
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  • Edward J. Karas

    Edward J. Karas

A Rosemont cop charged in two armed robberies who formally stepped down from the force last week is seeking his pension for an undisclosed disability, officials said Wednesday.

Edward Karas, a 13-year member of the Rosemont Public Safety Department, submitted an application for a disability pension just ahead of a scheduled Thursday hearing to consider his termination as a sergeant.

Karas' attorney, Richard Blass, wouldn't disclose the nature of Karas' medical condition, saying only that a doctor examined the ex-officer and determined he is unable to return to the force.

"He's put his time in, and we believe he's sufficiently disabled to receive his pension," Blass said Wednesday.

Upon leaving the department, Karas is also entitled to a payout of his remaining vacation time, per state statute.

Rosemont's board of public safety commissioners was set to consider Karas' firing Thursday morning, but the meeting was canceled after Karas tendered his pension application to the village.

A separate village panel, the five-member public safety officers pension board, is tasked with managing pension funds and granting awards. A hearing on Karas' request hasn't been scheduled.

Should Karas seek a non-line-of-duty disability pension, he would be entitled to half his $112,527 salary. The pension board would choose three doctors to examine him and would consider other evidence of disability during public hearings.

But if he's convicted of a felony relating to his police work, he wouldn't be entitled to a pension, under state law.

Karas, 40, of Rosemont, was suspended without pay in October and previously was on unpaid leave since being charged Sept. 13 in the armed robbery of gas stations in Norridge and Park Ridge. Authorities say he served as the getaway driver for Wright O'Laughlin, 48, of Chicago, who also is charged.

Karas already was on paid administrative leave after his bosses launched an internal investigation to probe allegations he allowed more than a dozen people, including a felon, to enter an Allstate Arena show without tickets or a security check.

Public Safety Superintendent Donald E. Stephens III, who initially sought Karas' firing in October, wrote in a formal dismissal complaint that Karas also displayed a fraudulent Rosemont police star badge and an expired department ID card to the Norridge officers who arrested him Sept. 12. Karas did the same during a traffic stop that day for driving erratically, Stephens wrote.

Stephens also sought Karas' firing for his interactions with a felon referred to as "John Doe," who was among those Karas let into the June 9 show at the village-owned arena, according to the written complaint.

Karas has pleaded not guilty to the armed robbery charges. The criminal case is now going through the discovery phase, with a status hearing scheduled for Jan. 17 at the Skokie courthouse.

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