Honor roll teen commits suicide after police ‘scare him straight’ with sex offender threat

Corey Walgren was  a happy, healthy 16-year-old high school junior who had never been in any serious trouble. The redheaded teenager was a valued member of his school’s hockey team, regularly made the honor roll, and was looking forward to college.

But that all changed in the course of a day, when his mother tells the Chicago Tribune that a call to his school’s dean’s office scared him so desperately that he walked out of school to a parking garage a mile away and took his own life there.

Walgren had been facing disciplinary action after officials at Naperville North High School heard the teenager had made an audio recording of a consensual sexual encounter with a 16-year-old girl, and allowed some friends to listen to it. While the girl reportedly consented to the encounter itself, it does not appear as though she agreed to have it recorded and certainly not for Corey to share it with his friends.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, which states that it took months to compile a narrative of what happened that January day, a police officer was waiting for Walgren when he reported to the dean’s office during lunchtime.

There, according to the newspaper, the police officer questioning Walgren told him that the incident was being treated as “child pornography.”

During the meeting, Walgren’s mother Maureen was reached by phone, and the officer kept her on speaker while he spoke to her. He reportedly told her that her son was being investigated for child pornography and could be placed on the sex offender registry.

Maureen Walgren asked the officer if her son needed a lawyer. According to Mrs. Walgren and the coroner’s report obtained by the Chicago Tribune, he said no.

But the officer wrote in his report of the incident that he “told [Maureen] that was a decision she needed to make as I could not influence her one way or the other … I explained to her that my goal was to keep this incident out of the courts.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, officials asked Maureen for permission to download the purported sexual encounter recording from Corey’s phone, and she said she would leave the hospital where she worked as a nurse right away and come to the school. Corey was reportedly told to sit in an office waiting area until his mother arrived.

Mrs. Walgreen got to the school ahead of schedule. But Corey was gone.

Both school officials and Corey’s mother were immediately concerned, and began searching for the boy. While they were looking — and when Maureen was only five blocks away from the parking structure — Corey plummeted 53 feet.

He was still breathing when emergency responders arrived to the scene, but later died at the hospital.

“I think they wanted to scare him straight,” Maureen Walgren told the Chicago Tribune. “Instead, they scared him to death.”

Maureen and her husband Doug, Corey’s father, are reportedly planning to file a lawsuit against the police department and the school district.

“There has to be a change in their policy and their procedures,” Maureen told the newspaper. “Corey’s death cannot go by with no meaning at all.”



Featured image: Family photo