State investigators announced last Tuesday that a Forest Park police officer accused of raping a woman last month will not face criminal charges.
Police Chief Jim Ryan said he met with state authorities Sept. 4 to discuss their findings, but did not go over the details of any evidence that may have influenced that decision. Ryan said he is expecting a full written report by Sept. 18, and that document will serve as the foundation of an internal review.
The officer accused in the case will remain on paid administrative leave, Ryan said, pending the outcome of a department investigation.
“After reviewing all of the facts of this case, the Cook County State’s Attorney declined to approve any criminal complaints against the officer,” a statement released by Ryan said.
Illinois State Police handed their investigation over to the state’s attorney on Aug. 29. That office is where the decision on whether to pursue criminal charges was made by the Professional Standards Unit, according to the statement.
Calls to that office were referred to state’s attorney spokesman John Gorman, who declined to comment on the details of any evidence collected in the case.
“The state police investigated and discussed the fruits of their investigation with the state’s attorney. There was insufficient evidence to bring charges,” Gorman said.
Ryan said his department has not given any consideration to charging the woman with filing a false report.
According to the accuser’s complaint filed with the Forest Park police, the officer was off-duty when he met the woman on Aug. 11 around 10:30 p.m. The report indicates the two were familiar with one another, however, the nature of their relationship is not made clear. Portions of the report were redacted by village officials prior to making the document public.
The woman accused the officer of assaulting her at her Madison Street apartment sometime that evening or during the early morning hours of Aug. 12. Local authorities were contacted later that morning, and according to Mayor Anthony Calderone, transported the woman to an area hospital where she was examined by medical staff for any evidence of a sexual assault. Local authorities did not interview the alleged assailant, and handed the investigation off to state police.
It is the Review’s policy not to print the names of victim’s or potential victims in sexual assault cases. The officer accused in the case will also not be named until such time as he is arrested, criminal charges are filed or substantive disciplinary action is taken against him by the village.
With respect to the in-house investigation, village officials will try and determine whether the officer violated any policies or procedures. Though the officer was not working at the time of the alleged incident, Ryan said portions of the department’s code of conduct may still apply.
“He’s always representing the Forest Park Police Department, especially in town,” Ryan said.
Ryan spoke critically of this newspaper’s coverage of the case, and said in light of the fact no charges will be filed, the officer and the department’s reputation have been needlessly soiled. He accused the Forest Park Review of “jumping the gun” by printing two front-page stories on the state’s investigation.
“I think the Forest Park Review was premature to print anything on our officer before the case had been reviewed by a legal office,” Ryan said Tuesday.
Asked whether he agreed with the mayor’s decision to publicly discuss the allegations, Ryan said he had no comment.