A teenager from Illinois who killed himself after being accused by officials at his school of being in possession of child pornography had played an audio recording for his friends in which he could be heard having consensual sex with a female classmate.
Corey Walgren, a 16-year-old honor roll student at a suburban Chicago high school, jumped to his death from a five-story parking deck on January 11, just hours after he was called into the dean's office at Naperville North High School and confronted about the video he had made of himself having a sexual encounter with a female classmate.
Corey's parents, Maureen and Dough Walgren, have sued the school, accusing it in a federal lawsuit of unnecessarily traumatizing their son by warning him he could be criminally charged and forced to register as a sex offender. They are seeking more than $5million in damages.
'They scared the hell out of the kid, and that's what drove Corey to kill himself,' said the family's attorney, Terry Ekl.
In police reports, court filings, witness accounts, emails and other documents obtained by the Associated Press, officials at the 2,800-student school in an upper middle-class suburb west of Chicago say they conveyed to Walgren the seriousness of the matter while also reassuring him that their goal was to keep it out of court.
The case began unfolding at around noon on January 11 after the 16-year-old girl with whom Walgren had sex went to school officials to make a complaint about him.
Earlier that day, she had learned of the sex video from a friend and was upset Walgren recorded their encounter without her permission. At first, she said, she was not sure the sex was consensual but later stated clearly that it was.
The Walgrens never blamed the girl and said she was right to report the video, Ekl said. She later attended Corey's wake.
Facing discipline at school was a new experience for Walgren. As he walked into the office at about 12.40pm, Dean Steve Madden said he had never seen Walgren under these circumstances because the teen had never been in trouble, according to the documents.
Walgren, the eldest of three children, was an honors student and played hockey as part of the Naperville North Huskies Hockey Club. According to his obituary, the 16-year-old also loved fishing and was a member of the Naperville North Bass Fishing Club.
Walgren quickly admitted what he had done. When he and the girl were in his car, parked on a secluded street at night, he had turned on the video-recording function and dropped his cellphone by his leg after the pair talked and shared some alcohol.
Neither teen was visible on the two minutes of footage during their sexual tryst. It was the audio Walgren played for four friends, some at a school hockey practice. He never texted or emailed it.
Also in the dean's office was Brett Heun, a Naperville police officer assigned to the school.
The recording was hidden on an app that looked like a calculator. When Walgren opened it for the officer, it revealed photos of other partially nude girls, as well as the video, according to accounts obtained by the AP as early as last spring.
Those images, which Walgren said were sent to him by others, were among contents downloaded by Naperville police.
The officer told Walgren the video 'concerned child pornography, which is obviously illegal.' Walgren nodded.
Heun later said he wanted to impress upon Walgren that the matter was serious. But if Walgren cooperated, Heun told him, the matter could be kept out of court.
Walgren was interviewed for at least 20 minutes in the dean's office until his parents were contacted.
When officials called his mother at work, Maureen Walgren said she could guarantee her son would fulfill any requirements to keep the matter out of court, according to the accounts obtained by the AP.
She also asked if the family should get an attorney. School officials told her that was her decision.
Madden asked Walgren if he understood what he did was wrong. 'He said ... he knew he made a mistake,' the dean said in documents.
Walgren did not appear upset by the questioning. 'Corey was calm, cooperative and respectful,' Madden said. The dean also thanked him for being honest.
Walgren may not have shown it, but what he heard must have caused him 'psychological distress ... humiliation and shame,' his parents' lawsuit says.
After meeting school officials, Walgren was told to wait at a student-services office while his mother drove to the school. He sat behind a secretary, and the two chatted