UPDATED: Feb. 6, 2013 at 2:40 p.m.
In 2011, Riverside police detective David Krull delivered a police report that was part of an ongoing investigation to a lawyer representing a former part-time Riverside teacher before the lawyer had even filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the report, recently released emails show.
Emails between Krull and attorney Bruce Rose show that Justino Petrarca, a lawyer who represents Riverside Elementary School District 96, was correct when he recently said a police report involving allegations of child sexual abuse was released prior to the police receiving a FOIA request or a subpoena.
The teacher, Susan Battersby, was exonerated in an investigation Krull conducted. Battersby ultimately decided to agree to a settlement in which she resigned and agreed not to sue the district in return for being paid for the entire school year.
The emails, which the Landmark obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act request with the Riverside Police Department, indicate Krull left a copy of the police report at Rose’s office in Westchester on Oct. 6, 2011, just one day after Krull had interviewed Battersby, with Rose present, at the Riverside police station.
“Hopefully it will help Susan’s case and I don’t agree with what the school district is doing to or has done to Susan. If you need the rest of my police report as I complete it let me know and I will get it to you,” Krull wrote in an email dated Oct. 6.
“Also, if possible can you send me a FOIA request for that police report? You can email the request to me if you would like. That way I will be covered. If you need anything else concerning Susan’s case or if I can help in some other way please let me know.”
Rose emailed Krull a FOIA request exactly one hour after receiving Krull’s email. Krull declined to comment when asked why he gave Rose a copy of the police report before asking Rose to file a FOIA request for the report.
The emails do not shed any light on who prepared a subpoena for the police report. The subpoena, which Rose strongly denied preparing, was dated Oct. 4 and stamped “received” by the Riverside Police Department a day or two later.
The subpoena itself raises several questions. It was filed on an out-of-date form and the name of Rose’s law firm was misspelled twice. The date of the witness signature, which is illegible, is stated as 2010. Subpoenas are generally not issued except in current cases or grand jury investigations, neither of which was occurring at the time.
“I never prepared or served the subpoena,” Rose told the Landmark in an email.
Krull, who was promoted to lieutenant on Jan. 21, also denied preparing the subpoena.
“I did not create the subpoena, and I only complied with the subpoena request,” Krull told the Landmark in an email on Wednesday.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel in response to allegations that the police report was improperly released, said the he was looking into the matter.
“FYI, the School District’s attorney tried claiming to me that everyone was mislead (sic) by the State’s Attorney’s Offices in Cook and DuPage Counties into believing that Susan had been involved in criminal conduct,” Rose wrote to Krull in an email dated Nov. 8, 2011. “I told him flat out that statement was false, and that the SAOs in both counties had not been fooled for an instant.”
Krull responded to Rose 26 minutes later with his own email.
“It is amazing that the school district attorney is blaming the State’s Attorney’s Offices for saying that Susan was involved in criminal conduct,” Krull wrote.
Battersby’s resignation reportedly was related to a separate set of allegations made in the fall of 2011 by Ames School Principal Colleen Lieggi. The district initially sought to fire Battersby, but later reversed course.
In one of the emails obtained by the Landmark, Rose remarked to Krull, “You may be interested to know that Susan has a meeting with the school superintendent on [Nov. 10] during which we expect him to apologize for putting Susan through all of this, and to offer to ‘clean’ her personnel file, as well as to offer her a job in a different school in the district.”
Several school board members have said they were not notified of the criminal investigation during the fall of 2011.
Bob Uphues contributed to this report.