Stephen Peterson’s complaint against former police chief Thomas Sheahan, et al

Stephen Peterson


Ahead of a pending court date in Circuit Court for a judicial review of the decision that cost him his job, Drew Peterson’s son filed a multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit accusing Oak Brook’s former police chief of conspiring with another official to boot him from the Oak Brook police force.

Stephen Peterson was fired from the force in February of 2011, after his testimony at Grand Jury revealed that he had voluntarily accepted guns from his father in order to avoid their being confiscated during the investigation of the disappearance of Stacy Peterson.

Both Stephen and his father Drew Peterson have claimed that the officer was unfairly targeted because of his relationship to the murder defendant, although the complaint states that Sheahan’s animosity towards Peterson began even before Stacy’s disappearance. No explanation is offered for the alleged dislike.

You can read the new complaint below:

If you need a refresher, here are the charges against Stephen Peterson that ultimately led to his firing:

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25 thoughts on “Stephen Peterson’s complaint against former police chief Thomas Sheahan, et al

  1. 24. Chief Sheehan, fully knowing it was not true, started to spread false rumors throughout the Police Department of the Village of Oak Brook that Drew Peterson, Officer Peterson, and Oak Brook Police Department Sergeant Randy Mucha had been in a local bar discussing, planning, and rehearsing an alibi for their whereabouts on the night that Drew Peterson’s wife went missing.

    25. Geraldo Rivera reported about the rehearsed alibi account on his nationally syndicated television show Geraldo at Large.

    26. States Attorney Glasgow had conducted an investigation and no one would confirm hearing this conversation about rehearsing an alibi.

    27. Chief Sheahan appeared to be embarrassed and said nothing further about the rehearsed alibi.

    A quick search turned up this snippet from Geraldo’s show on Fox:

    FUHRMAN: There is a very strange system working in these small communities of Ilinois. Birds of a feather flock together. I don’t find it ironic or coincidental at all. These guys probably drink together.

    RIVERA: Funny you should say that since Randy Mucha, Drew Peterson and his son Steve were seen having a drink together in a bar called Leo’s either the day before or the day of Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.”

    Rivera’s statement may have been inaccurate, as Mucha later said he was never in a bar called Leo’s that night, but neither does Rivera mention anything about the purpose of the meeting. Are there further mentions of this in the transcript?

  2. 54. Knowing that Officer Peterson was dating a police officer from a neighboring Police Department, Chief Sheahan contacted the Police Chief from the neighboring department, used profanity in describing the female police officer, and threatened that he would arrest Officer Peterson’s girlfriend if she made a scene at the administrative hearing.

    55. The police chief from the neighboring department told Chief Sheahan, “Leave my police officer alone” and hung up on Chief Sheahan.

    56. In an envelope containing his business card, Chief Sheahan sent to Officer Peterson’s girlfriend a book entitled How to Live like a Lady: Lessons in Life, Manners, and Style.

    OK, that’s just weird. I thought that reading the actual complaint would explain this part a little better. it’s just weirder.

  3. The five counts are:

    Count I
    Violation of Due Process under the 14th Amendment

    Count II
    Tortious Interference with Advantageous Business Relations

    Count III
    Breach of Contract

    Count IV
    Defamation and Slander

    Count V
    Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

  4. 11. James Glasgow, the State’s Attorney of Will County and his Assistants beganto meet with and interview Police Officer Peterson as part of their investigation.

    12. Officer Peterson was subpoenaed to give testimony before the Will CountyGrand Jury concerning that investigation on a day when he was on duty for the Village of Oak Brook, Illinois Police Department.

    13. Because he was on active duty for the Village of Oak Brook, Illinois PoliceDepartment on that date, Officer Peterson advised his supervisor, Sergeant Casey Cavelloand received permission to take his Oak Brook Police Department squad car and appearbefore the Will County Grand Jury in police uniform.

    14. There was wide television coverage as the Grand Jury Proceedings wereprogressing, and Officer Peterson was shown going in and out of the Will County CourtBuilding in police uniform.

    States Attorney’s office was not interviewing Police Officer Peterson, they were interviewing Stephen Peterson, son of Drew Peterson….while they are the same person they were not interviewing him as a police officer…which is why he should not have shown up in his uniform or driving the police cruiser…he may have been scheduled to be on duty at his job, but he was subpeoned to be at the grand jury, which should be treated like getting called for jury duty…you are given time off. I am sure the tax paying citizens of Oak Brook were glad to be paying his salary and gas to attend his father’s grand jury hearing.

  5. 29. Officer Peterson was subpoenaed and testified for the State during theprosecution of those charges in the Circuit Court of Will County, Illinois.

    30. Officer Peterson testified under oath that his father had given him three gunsto hold for safekeeping at his home because “he did not want anything to happen tothem”.

    The typo at the end of that is theirs, not mine…just saying… “to them” should be two word and the period goes inside the quotes.

    Again, Officer Peterson was not testifying as a police officer and in these points should be referred by his full name or by “Peterson.” It appears they are adding importance by using “Officer Peterson.”

    It was not Officer Peterson or Drew Peterson’s choice to decide what was pertinent to this investigation. To me it looks like he is hiding something, who knows if anything else was passed on, this is what they were caught with. A police officer, 2 in this case, should have known better. It looks bad to the citizens of a town if the police officer they are paying to serve and protect comes out looking like he is hindering an investigation, especially one of a missing mother.

  6. One thing that has always really bugged me about the gun situation was that when officers came to Stephen’s house, he was able to tell them that he didn’t want to discuss things at his residence and that he would go to the station and bring them the guns, which he did do later, at his convenience.

    I only wish there had been a warrant for Stephen’s house so that they could have seen what else he may have been keeping for his dad. We’ll never know now since officers left the house and he was allowed to dispose of anything he wanted to.

  7. In my opinion there seem to be way too many references to Sheahan’s emotional state in the complaint. He is described as being “livid” in more than one place.

    Maybe he was. Maybe Stephen’s actions infuriated him because they were loathsome and irresponsible. Where’s the crime in feeling that way?

  8. Facs, since they don’t give any dates for any of this, re the girlfriend, its hard to figure out. I am surprised that there are not dates given for these things. I guess it is possible that that happened after his divorce from his wife and before Feb 2011….of course there is nothing stopping you from thinking the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree either.

  9. I’m thinking that you’re correct in that. The book was mailed to the girlfriend he has since his divorce from Teresa. (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one)

    What I don’t understand now is why, if Sheahan was trying to harass her, he would enclose his business card? It doesn’t make sense to me.

    The author is a “Sarah Tomczak”. Is it possible there was some joke about the last name? I guess Sheahan will have to explain this one…

  10. FYI:

    MEDIA MEETING ADVISORY – DREW PETERSON TRIAL

    The Will County Sheriff’s Office, Public Affairs Division, will be holding an informational meeting to all press who are interested in attending the Drew Peterson trial. The meeting will be:

    Place: Will County Sheriff’s Eagle Building
    20 W. Washington Street, Joliet (Southeast corner of Ottawa and Washington)
    Date: Tuesday, July 17th Time: 11:00 am

    Media credentials will be available for pick-up at that time. All aspects pertaining to jury selection and the trial will be covered.

    In order to ensure that we have enough seating in our meeting location we are asking for a courtesy response of how many will be attending from your agency. Please send an email to: khoffmeyer@willcosheriff.org

    If you cannot attend the meeting:

    1) You may pick-up your credentials on July 23rd or July 31st, at the southeast entrance of the courthouse.

    2) Information distributed at the meeting will be posted on our Media Only website after the meeting.

  11. More preparation ahead of Drew’s trial:

    07/11/2012 Notice of Motion
    07/11/2012 Impounded Document- People’s Motion in Limine
    07/12/2012 Impounded Document: LIST OF WITNESSES & NOTIFICATION OF REPORTS
    07/12/2012 Copies & Cert. Copies

  12. Bolingbrook family who bought Savio home want Drew Peterson trial over

    By Janet Lundquist July 13, 2012 11:16PM

    World, meet Rodolfo and Marleni Hernandez.

    They’re the Bolingbrook couple who, eight years ago, unwittingly bought ground zero of former cop Drew Peterson’s upcoming murder trial for the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. At the time, the couple didn’t know they were buying a crime scene, including the bathtub where Savio’s body was found.

    And, while the nation’s attention is focusing on Peterson’s upcoming trial, the only thing they care about the case is that it all goes away. The police, lawyers, pesky reporters and curious bystanders — they can all just go away. The Hernandez family doesn’t like the publicity that comes with owning the home — they wouldn’t even agree to have their pictures printed in the newspaper.

    “I hope the truth comes up, whatever it is,” Marleni said. “I hope everything ends, too. No more nobody coming here.”

    Peterson sold them the home where Savio lived during their divorce in 2004, about eight months after Savio’s death — six months after her demise was first ruled accidental. He attended the closing and told the Hernandezes that he was selling the house because his kids liked the swimming pool at his other house down the street, Marleni said.

    They did not know someone died in their house until three years after they moved in to the house on Pheasant Chase Drive. They awoke one morning in 2007 to a crush of media outside taking pictures and video of their home.

    That’s when they learned Savio was found dead in their bathtub.

    “I felt like, ‘Whoa.’ I was not in shock, but I didn’t know somebody was killed here,” Marleni said. “We were surprised.”

    Peterson’s trial for Savio’s murder is scheduled to begin in Will County on July 23rd.

    Peterson claims Savio died after she slipped and hit her head on the tub, then drowned.

    Her death was ruled an accident by a Will County coroner’s jury in May 2004, six months before the Hernandezes bought the house.

    In 2007, after Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, went missing and sparked a national media frenzy, investigators reopened Savio’s case.

    Since then, the Hernandez house has been visited by police, prosecutors, reporters and random sightseers. The visits became more frequent after state police arrested Peterson for Savio’s murder in May 2009.

    Through the years, investigators have taken the bathtub Savio’s body was found in and other evidence from the house. The family was compensated for the items that were taken, said Charles B. Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.

    “They had no idea when they bought the house,” said Harold Edwards, who lives two houses down. He said he’s seen investigators walk out of the house with rolls of carpet under their arms.

    “Can you imagine moving there and your house is being picked apart?” he said.

    The news that Savio was found dead in the house was a real jolt and difficult for the couple to fathom, said Charo Fiorenzo, the real estate agent who helped the couple buy the house in November 2004.

    “I understood that [Marleni] got very nervous, she didn’t want to go in the bathroom anymore,” Fiorenzo said. “[Rodolfo] said all the cops were there, the newspapers. They removed the tub and they had a big hole in the bathroom.”

    At the time of the sale, none of them knew there had been a death in the house, Fiorenzo said. And Illinois property owners or Realtors are not legally required to disclose a death in a building for sale.

    Recently, prosecutors floated the idea of bringing the bathtub into the courtroom for jurors to see during the trial — that, or reinstalling the tub in the Hernandez house and allowing jurors to walk through and look at it.

    Judge Edward Burmila balked at the reinstallation idea, saying he did not want to impose on the Hernandez family.

    Both Marleni and Rodolpho say nobody asked them about the idea of reinstalling the bathtub and letting jurors walk through their house.

    With the trial rapidly approaching, the Hernandezes and their neighbors are bracing for another onslaught of media and curious bystanders.

    Edwards, who has lived in his house since 1999, said he’s had random people come by, asking him to point out Savio’s former home.

    Edwards said he doesn’t remember the day Savio was found dead in the bathtub, and that he is reserving judgment on Peterson.

    “I know Drew. He’s a quirky guy,” Edwards said, adding that he did not know Savio well. “I feel the guy is innocent until proven guilty.”

    Marleni said she did not know many details of the investigation.

    “I’m not a news person,” Marleni said.

    And, she said, the less she knows, the better.

    “I don’t know if he’s guilty,” Marleni said. “If it was an accident, well, accidents happen. But if it wasn’t, if somebody did it, that’s bad.”

    Rodolfo said the media frenzy from several years ago was “crazy.” He said he’s not spending much time thinking about the upcoming trial, though he is scheduled to testify.

    “I don’t know” if Peterson is guilty, he said. “Ask the judge, don’t ask me.”
    The Hernandezes’ next-door neighbor, who declined to comment, saying it was too difficult a subject, had told Marleni that Savio was a sweet person.

    “They said she was a good mother, friendly. A good person,” Marleni said. “She was like an angel, they said,”

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/13762824-418/bolingbrook-family-who-bought-savio-home-want-drewpeterson-trial-over.html

  13. I wonder if the jury itself will wonder why they weren’t allowed to see the actual tub? After all, it works both ways. Any of them could get into the tub and see if either side’s contention of how Kathleen died can be reconstructed. Rather than rely on their own instincts or observations, they’ll have to choose between either the defense’s or State’s experts to come to a conclusion. Since the State considers the tub the “murder weapon,” I think this is a puzzling ruling by the judge. Why would he be concerned about letting them see the actual murder weapon?

    IMO, I think this judge took away the option of letting them make an informed decision about the tub using their own observations.

  14. “They said she was a good mother, friendly. A good person,” Marleni said. “She was like an angel, they said,”
    That doesn’t sound like the neighbor thought of her as a hellcat.

  15. If the criteria is “Would this be helpful to the jury”, how can you not let them see the tub? It’s not prejudicial–it’s physical evidence.

  16. Maybe they can do their own video with someone the same height, and weight as Savio. Show this person getting in and out of tub, and show there is no possible way she could of fell, and drowned in the tub like that. I don’t see why the judge wouldn’t allow a demonstration on video showing how physically hard this would be for her to have fallen, and in that position.

  17. FYI, the wrongful death suit is still open:

    Case Number: 2009L 000326
    Case Status: Open Case
    Open Date: 04/21/2009
    Case Title: SAVIO HENRY J vs. PETERSON DREW
    Case Type: LAW
    File Type: Wrongful Death
    Closed Date: N/A

    Future Court Event:
    09/10/2012 9:00 am WCCA 311 Case Management

  18. (PR NewsChannel) / July 16, 2012 / CHICAGO
    The Drew Peterson defense team announced the launch of a new web page that contains important information for news outlets and reporters covering the upcoming trial of the former Bolingbrook, Ill. police sergeant.

    The new website is http://www.petersondefense.com.

    The website is the “public war room for the Drew Peterson defense team,” according to the page.

    It’s where the media should go to find information or to inquire about interviews with the defense team or those associated with the defense team. More items will be added to the web page in coming days and weeks and as situations warrant.

    The web page currently contains biographies for each of Peterson’s lawyers: Joel Brodsky, lead defense attorney; Steve Greenberg; Ralph E. Meczyk; Joseph R. Lopez; Darryl Goldberg; and Lisa M. Lopez.

    The Drew Peterson defense team (www.petersondefense.com) webpage also contains other resources for reporters, news outlets, and interested members of the public.

    The Drew Peterson defense team has plans to utilize the latest in technology to disseminate information to reporters and news outlets, where appropriate. Also, any interested member of the public who is not part of the jury pool is also welcome to take advantage.

    An RSS feed, available on the webpage, is designed for those who wish to receive news releases from the defense team right on their smart phones or computers.

    The defense team plans to Tweet statements, press releases and other items of news value via the The Publicity Agency’s Twitter handle @publicityagency.

    The web page also contains a sign up form for those wishing to receive press releases via email. Press releases also will be posted online and appear in search engines.

    The media relations, web page and Twitter channel are being handled by The Publicity Agency. The PR firm has represented Drew Peterson and the defense team since 2007.

    Jury selection begins July 23.

    Drew Peterson has been in jail since his arrest in May, 2009. The story has received national and international attention.

    For more information, please visit http://www.petersondefense.com.

    Direct link: http://www.prnewschannel.com/2012/07/16/media-alert-drew-peterson-defense-team-launches-new-web-page-in-advance-of-trial/
    SOURCE: Drew Peterson Defense Team

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