A former Lake County deputy coroner pleaded not guilty to felony charges alleging she recorded herself telling a child that their family member died in a vehicle crash.
Dana A. Dingman, 36, of the 100 block of Station Park Circle in Grayslake, was indicted in July on charges of official misconduct, a Class 3 felony, and two counts of eavesdropping by use of a device, a Class 4 felony.
Dingman appeared in court on Thursday where she pleaded not guilty to all charges, court records show.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office said in a statement last month that their administration located a video on April 23 on Dingman’s county-owned laptop.
The video depicted Dingman, who was working as a deputy coroner at the time, conducting a death notification to a family member of a victim.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli said Dingman was notifying a 16-year-old boy that a family member of his had died in a motorcycle crash.
The video appeared to have been taken from Dingman’s cell phone in July 2018 without the consent of other parties involved.
The video was later stored on Dingman’s computer hard drive. It is unclear why the woman recorded the encounter and saved it.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said she immediately contacted the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and Lake County Sheriff’s Office upon her administration making the discovery in April.
The state’s attorney’s office and sheriff’s office both opened an investigation into the incident.
“I am appalled at the discovery of this video. There is no reason for the employee in question to have violated the public’s trust by surreptitiously recording them during such an emotional and private moment,” Banek said.
“Finding out a loved one has died is a family’s worst moments, and our staff is expected to conduct their duties with the utmost care, respect and compassion,” she added.
The coroner’s office said this appears to be an isolated incident and only occurred with Dingman. The family members and other parties impacted were contacted and made aware of the investigation.
Dingman’s employment with the coroner’s office was terminated in June.
Dingman, who remains out on bond, is scheduled to appear for a case management conference on September 23.