The former director of an emergency dispatch center in northern Kane County admitted in court Thursday to misusing a criminal background database to help his girlfriend.
Steven R. Cordes, 44, of the 100 block of Polaris Drive, Lake in the Hills, pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct in exchange for a six-month jail sentence and 30 months of probation. He also was ordered to pay his former employer, QuadCom, about $4,600 in restitution.
Associate Judge Allen M. Anderson, who accepted the plea deal at a hearing in St. Charles, admonished Cordes for "violating the public trust."
"In 30 months, I hope you're taking a different direction," the judge told him.
Cordes was indicted last October on 18 counts of official misconduct after an investigation into his personal use of a restricted criminal background database accessible through QuadCom, which dispatches emergency services to Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee, Sleepy Hollow and South Barrington.
Defense attorney Joseph Di Natale said Cordes used the database over a period of five months in 2006 to look up information on people for his girlfriend, who suspected her daughter of dating "lowlife." Cordes also ran license plate numbers from vehicles that would stop by the girl's home, Di Natale said.
"He was in love with a woman and trying to help her," Di Natale said. "He made a mistake, and he is suffering a terrible price."
An eight-year employee, Cordes resigned from QuadCom's top administrative position upon being indicted, and he remains unemployed. Di Natale said his client had brushed aside any mention of taking the case to trial, and has since apologized in a letter to his former employer.
"He is accepting responsibility," Di Natale said.
Cordes, who had no prior criminal history and faced up to five years in prison if convicted at trial, was handcuffed and taken to the Kane County jail after pleading guilty to the Class 3 felony. By law, he must serve at least half of the six-month sentence, toward which he received credit for one day already served.
Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Kelly Orland, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment.