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Judge: Oak Brook Must Further Explain Why It Fired Drew Peterson’s Son

Stephen Peterson

Stephen Peterson Leaves The Will County Courthouse On Aug. 23, 2010. (CBS)

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WHEATON, Ill. (STMW) – A DuPage County judge on Tuesday ordered the Oak Brook Board of Fire and Police Commissioners better explain its reasoning for firing the son of Drew Peterson, who is currently on trial in Will County for allegedly murdering his ex-wife.

Judge Terence M. Sheen issued the written statement Tuesday requiring the Oak Brook board to provide further detail as to why it fired former Oak Brook police officer Stephen Peterson, according to a statement from the Village of Oak Brook.

The Oak Brook Board of Fire and Police Commissioners fired Peterson in February 2011 for allegedly violating a state statute and several Oak Brook police conduct regulations for accepting weapons and funds from his father, according to the release. The board also questioned his rationale for not immediately disclosing the information to Illinois State Police.

Peterson claimed in a federal lawsuit filed July 10 against members of the village that the board voted 3-0 to terminate him because he didn’t disclose information during an investigation into the disappearance of his stepmother, Stacy Peterson.

The board cleared him of two other charges, including an illegal gun charge relating to three weapons and a transfer of $236,800 he accepted from his father three days after Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.

“Whether the weapons or the money ultimately held any evidentiary value relative to the investigation … is irrelevant. Considering the totality of the circumstances it was incumbent on Officer Peterson to immediately disclose his receipt of the weapons and money to the appropriate authorities and he willfully elected to ignore that obligation,” according to the board.

The four-count federal lawsuit claims Thomas Sheahan, then Oak Brook police chief, was “livid” that Stephen Peterson appeared in his police uniform and took an Oak Brook squad car to testify before a 2007 Will County grand jury hearing about his father’s case, and pushed for his termination from then on.

Oak Brook Village Attorney Peter Friedman said the board will decide the next step, which could include “amplifying its order so that it more clearly identifies the actions that the Board felt Peterson took, and how the Board felt those actions specifically violated many different rules and regulations.”

Peterson is seeking $10 million in the federal lawsuit.

Drew Peterson is currently on trial in Will County for allegedly murdering his ex-wife, Kathleen Savio. He remains a suspect in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, his fourth wife.

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