The attorney representing Drew Peterson’s son claims the former Oak Brook police chief hid evidence as part of a vindictive plot to boot the accused wife-killer’s kid from his department.
In a motion penned by Fraternal Order of Police attorney Tamara Cummings, the lawyer charged that former Chief Thomas Sheahan “intentionally concealed or directed to be concealed the existence of witnesses and witness testimony” that might have helped Peterson’s son Stephen Peterson when he was fighting to keep his job as an Oak Brook cop.
Not only that, but an affidavit sworn to by Cummings in support of her motion accuses Sheahan of making rancorous remarks about Stephen Peterson, including, “I’ll bankrupt him,” “I’ll step on his air hose,” “I will chop off his (testicles),” and, “He will get his job back in the next few years, but in the interim, he’ll lose his house, his wife will leave him and his dog will be dead.”
Stephen Peterson was fired from the Oak Brook Police Department in February. He has yet to get his job back, but Sheahan was right about him losing his wife and house. It is not known if his dog has died or if he ever even had one.
Stephen Peterson’s infamous father, Drew Peterson, cost him his job when he had him stash three of his firearms before the state police could execute a search of Drew Peterson’s Bolingbrook house in October 2007.
The state police were looking for some sign of Drew Peterson’s missing wife, Stacy Peterson. Stacy remains missing and Drew Peterson has been jailed since May 2009 awaiting trial on charges he killed his previous wife, Kathleen Savio, in March 2004.
Sheahan went after Stephen Peterson’s job in August 2010 and ultimately succeeded in stripping the Peterson son of his gun and badge.
But Cummings said she uncovered possible new evidence that might be enough for Stephen Peterson to win his job back.
While speaking with a Hinsdale attorney who is considering a civil action against Oak Brook on Stephen Peterson’s behalf, Cummings said she learned Sheahan had concealed evidence.
According to her motion, Sheahan “had a conversation with two lieutenants who he had assigned to investigate the allegations against Officer Peterson,” and learned of several members of the state police who found Stephen Peterson “cooperative, forthcoming and not obstructive.”
“The chief became angry and directed the lieutenants NOT to document these interviews or the fact that they occurred, and to make no reports and send no emails regarding the interviews,” her affidavit says. “Subsequently, the lieutenants were removed from the investigation and the chief hired a private investigator.”
Sheahan resigned from the Oak Brook Police Department in April. He could not be reached for comment.
Cummings said acting Police Chief Steve Larson had “first-hand knowledge” of the concealed evidence. Larson was Sheahan’s deputy police chief. He also retired in April but returned to fill his former boss’ position.
“Larson failed to come forward with such evidence previously for fear of retaliation by Chief Sheahan,” the motion says.
Larson’s voicemail on Thursday said he was out of the office and would not be returning phone messages until Monday. He did not respond to questions about the Peterson case or his supposed fear of Sheahan.
Cummings, who took Stephen Peterson’s case up to DuPage County court in March, believes the new evidence may prove pivotal.
“That’s a big problem (for Oak Brook) that could make the difference in this case,” she said, adding, “I’ve never had a case where the information was intentionally withheld from me.”
Calls to the law firm representing Oak Brook in the Peterson matter were directed to attorney Benjamin Schuster. Schuster failed to return calls for comment, but in court papers, he and attorney Peter Friedman accuse Cummings of conducting an “unauthorized phone interview” with Larson, and call for her to be sanctioned by the court.
Cummings said there was nothing improper about her call to Larson and bristled at the allegations leveled by Oak Brook’s lawyers.
“I’ve definitely never been accused of unethical conduct before,” she said. “That definitely rubs me the wrong way.”