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State's Attorney's Office will not investigate Woodstock cop as criticism grows

Published: Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 5:32 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 12:08 a.m. CST

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office will not reopen the investigation into an embattled Woodstock police sergeant, as public outrage over an inappropriate text message sent to a young girl extends beyond McHenry County.

Criticism over the handling of the investigation into a text message Charles "Chip" Amati sent to his former girlfriend's 12-year-old daughter was propelled by international hacker group Anonymous. In the message, Amati asked the girl to send "sexy pictures."

On Friday, the group asked its more than 1 million Twitter followers to demand that Amati be fired or charged.

Amati received a 30-day unpaid suspension from the department after the Illinois State Police investigation also revealed that he misused the LEADS system by running a background check on the girl's mother, whom he had been dating.

The McHenry County State's Attorney's Office declined to pursue charges against Amati, saying that the evidence didn't support a criminal activity, Assistant State's Attorney Michael Combs said. An online petition asking that Combs' office further investigate Amati had 182 signatures by Monday evening.

"Any notion that we're not charging him because he's a police officer is just not true," said Combs, who was quick to point to former police officers Dale Hojnacki, Phillip Held and Greg Pyle, all of whom the State's Attorney's Office charged with unrelated felonies.

Prompted by the phone calls and emails, City Hall drafted a letter signed by the mayor and city manager that it will send to concerned citizens. The city provided the letter to the Northwest Herald.

"While the text message is egregious, inappropriate, absolutely unacceptable, and demonstrates a complete lapse in judgment, the Illinois State Police determined this incident was isolated," the letter stated. Amati's 30 days can be taken incrementally and at the discretion of Police Chief Robert Lowen.

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