A Chicago high school is now in the midst of a legal battle after a confrontation with a student about a sex tape may have led a teenage boy to commit suicide.
Now, his family is fighting back.
According to CBS Chicago, it started Jan. 11 when a female student told school officials that Corey Walgren, a 16-year-old honors student, had a recorded a video of them having sex without her permission.
The 16-year-old girl had learned about the cellphone video from a friend earlier that day and was noticeably upset.
When school officials called Walgren to the dean’s office, he was quick to confess.Screenshot/CBS Chicago
According to the Associated Press, the teen admitted to the dean, Steve Madden, he had recorded the video by dropping his cellphone down by his leg while drinking and having sex with the female student in a car.
Neither of the teens could actually be seen in the video footage, but there was clear audio of what was going on. He also said he had played the tape for some friends at hockey practice, according to the AP.
The video, along with additional photos of other partially nude girls, were hidden on an app disguised as a calculator on his phone.
A police officer who worked in the school, Brett Heun, was quick to warn Walgren of how serious the situation was.
He told the teen the cellphone footage “concerned child pornography, which is obviously illegal.” The school also allegedly warned the teen he may have to register as a sex offender.
According to the AP, school officials continued to speak to Walgren for at least 20 minutes before deciding to contact his parents. His mother was reached by phone and agreed to come to the high school to meet with them.Screenshot/CBS Chicago
Walgren was told to wait at the student-services office while his mother was en route. The teen then started “casually” chatting with the secretary, but just minutes later, she noticed he had vanished from the office.
A short time later, a woman passing by spotted the teen sitting “calmly” on top of a five-story municipal parking deck about a mile from the school.
When she saw him again minutes later, he had jumped off the roof and was lying on the ground. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.Screenshot/CBS Chicago
Now, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school for causing their son to suffer “extreme, intolerable and excessive emotional and psychological distress,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
They stated the school should not have interviewed their son without alerting them first. A lawyer for the family, Terry Ekl, told the AP:
“They scared the hell out of the kid, and that’s what drove Corey to kill himself.”
The outcome of the lawsuit may set a precedent for others schools regarding the handling of potential child pornography crimes.
But for now, the Walgrens are continuing their fight for $5 million in damages after the devastating death of their son.