An investigation in Hoffman Estates into the conduct of Des Plaines police officers at a golf outing in June has ended without criminal charges, and authorities said allegations that a sexual assault occurred were unfounded.
But Des Plaines officials have launched their own probe of the outing, and on Monday night the City Council voted 8-0 to hire an outside firm to investigate what occurred at Hilldale Golf Course in Hoffman Estates and at a nearby home June 19, said Des Plaines Ald. Malcolm Chester, co-sponsor of the proposal.
Chester said the outside review will replace an internal investigation the Des Plaines Police Department had begun and was due to continue after Hoffman Estates authorities completed their criminal investigation.
“We felt that the investigation should be independent,” the alderman said Tuesday. “It goes to our credibility. It’s very hard to investigate yourself.”
The Des Plaines police internal investigation stopped when administrators learned that Hoffman Estates authorities also were investigating reports of sexual assault and vandalism, Chester said. On Tuesday, Hoffman Estates announced it had cleared golf outing attendees of alleged criminal activity stemming from the gathering.
“After an extensive investigation,” Hoffman Estates police Sgt. Mark Mueller said in a statement, “it was determined that allegations of a sexual assault were unfounded as there was no evidence to determine that a crime occurred.”
The statement added that Hoffman Estates police investigated “third party allegations that a criminal damage to property” occurred at the golf course, but those reports “were found to be non-criminal.”
Hoffman Estates opened its review of the gathering in November, after Des Plaines police Chief William Kushner learned of the allegations and reached out to Hoffman Estates, authorities from both towns have said.
In an email Tuesday, Mueller said Hoffman Estates had completed its investigation “and has nothing further to report.”
Des Plaines is asking for a copy of Hoffman Estates’ report on its probe, Chester said.
Although Hoffman Estates found no criminal wrongdoing, Chester said Des Plaines’ independent investigation will re-examine if criminal behavior took place and look into whether “conduct unbecoming an officer” or other violations of the department’s code of ethics occurred, he said.
“I’ve literally heard three or four versions of what happened,” Chester added. “We need to gather up all the conflicting stories and have an independent firm get the best version of the facts we can, then decide if we need to address any issues.”
The golf outing was a second annual event at Hilldale, Chester said. Police employees played golf that day, then gathered at the home of an officer’s relative nearby. Up to 50 people attended the party, he said.
Chester said material that the Des Plaines investigation gathered will be forwarded to the independent investigator, which he said would be hired and start work “sooner rather than later.” He did not specify a timetable. A $50,000 budget has been set for the investigation, he said.