Two days after his partner apparently hanged himself in a downtown federal jail cell, an allegedly corrupt Cook County sheriff’s police officer was released on bond Wednesday by a judge who said he was “very concerned” about the officer’s mental health.
Robert Vaughan, 44, allegedly conspired with his former partner Stanley M. Kogut, 45, to commit robberies of marijuana, contraband cigarettes and cash.
But after the pair were arrested Monday in a federal sting, Kogut was found hanged in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Prosecutors agreed Wednesday morning that it would be best for Vaughan’s mental health for him to be released under house arrest with an electronic monitoring bracelet.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin agreed, telling Vaughan he was “concerned about it greatly.”
“You’re in serious trouble,” he told the graying, goatee-bearded Vaughan. “Let’s try to deal with your troubles in a measured way.”
Vaughan, who prosecutors say has been crying in his cell since his partner’s death, spoke in a weak voice to agree with Martin.
His wife agreed to risk paying a $100,000 bond if Vaughan violates the terms of his release.
The two sheriff’s officers — members of a federal anti-drug task force — were arrested Monday afternoon in Bedford Park after ripping off an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a drug dealer, according to a federal complaint. They took about 70 pounds of marijuana from the agent’s vehicle, authorities said.
They said Jimmy Rodgers, a corrupt Lyons police officer, was the key informant in the case, telling the FBI that he and the sheriff’s officers had been involved in robberies since 2011.
In August, Rodgers was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $37,000 and hundreds of cartons of cigarettes in fake police busts. But Rodgers wasn’t required to report to prison immediately, allowing him to continue to help FBI agents investigate the sheriff’s officers.
On Sept. 16, Rodgers wore a wire during a conversation with Kogut in which Rodgers said the only reason he didn’t “rat” on the sheriff’s officers is because Kogut paid him off, according to the federal complaint, which also says Kogut gave Rodgers $4,000 to keep quiet.
It says Rodgers secretly recorded Kogut and Vaughan talking about planned rip-offs, and the three allegedly netted at least $100,000 from selling stolen marijuana and also robbed illegal cigarette traffickers.