The parents of a 16-year-old boy who committed suicide after being questioned about alleged criminal misconduct at his Naperville high school filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the west suburban school district and police department for allegedly failing to properly inform them about his interrogation.
The suit alleges that two deans at Naperville North High School and a Naperville Police officer, who was assigned as a liaison to the school, ignored legal requirements of parental notification and assistance of counsel during their interrogation of honor roll student Corey Walgren, according to the suit filed in DuPage Circuit Court. The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million.
On Jan. 11, Walgren was brought in to the school’s dean’s offices to be questioned by James Konrad, one of the school’s dean of students, about an investigation into an allegation of criminal misconduct, the suit said.
Stephen Madden, another dean of students at the school, and Brett Heun, a Naperville police officer, then questioned Walgren about the allegation without giving him the opportunity to contact his parents, violating a state law that requires officials to attempt to notify them, the suit said.
Madden and Heun interrogated Walgren in a manner that caused “extreme and excessive psychological distress and fear” in an effort to coerce him to speak or do as they said, the suit said. This included, but was not limited to, falsely threatening Walgren with information that he possessed and disseminated child pornography and would be placed on a list of registered sex offenders.
The defendants were aware that the interrogation caused Walgreen distress, which was “not limited to the fear of incarceration and social embarrassment and shame,” the suit said.
Based on the circumstances, Walgren allowed Heun and Madden to examine his cellphone, the suit said. During the search, they failed to discover any child pornography.
Heun and Madden called Walgren’s mother, Maureen, and repeated some of the “false and coercive threats” to her, noting that they needed her to execute a consent form to allow further search of her son’s phone, the complaint said. This caused her “extreme and excessive emotional distress and worry for her son.”
Maureen Walgren then told Heun and Madden that she was on her way to pick up her son, asking if they would hold him until she arrived at the school in roughly 50 minutes, the suit said. The defendants agreed, and Corey Walgren was ordered to remain in the dean’s suite until his mother showed up to get him.
Despite their orders, Corey Walgren left the school, walked to a parking structure in downtown Naperville and threw himself from the fifth level, the suit said. He died later that day as a result of wounds incurred from the fall.
Aside from Konrad, Madden and Heun, the suit also names the City of Naperville and Naperville Community Unit School District 203 as defendants.