Man wrongfully convicted of 1999 murder sues Lake County officers

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John H. Breseman is charged in the murder of Christina Czuj.

Sun-Times file photo

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A man who spent 15 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a 1999 murderfiled a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Lake County officers who sent him to prison.

Jason Strong filed the suit Wednesday inU.S. District Court in Chicago against the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, Lake County, and several north suburban jurisdictions and officers.

Strong served 15 years in the Menard Correctional Center for the death of an unidentified woman found beatenin a Lake County forest preserve on Dec. 9, 1999, according to the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. She remained unidentified until 2006, when she was found to be Mary Kate Sunderlin.

Strong, then 24, was arrested 11 days after the body was discovered and gave a confession using information given to him by the investigating officers, according to the suit.

All charges against Strong were droppedon May 28, 2015, after it was found that the confession was inconsistent with the physical evidence and he was released. The Circuit Court of Lake County issued Strong a certificate of innocence last month.

The 11-count lawsuit claims the officers conspired to send him to prison. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

A spokesman for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Forcesaid they had not received the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon and declined to comment.

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