Essay Writer's Charges May Be Dropped Mental Health Evaluation Review Appears to Be Remaining Hurdle

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Byline: Charles Keeshan

Allen Lee, the Cary-Grove High School senior arrested over a violent essay he wrote for a creative writing class last month, should graduate with his classmates next week without the cloud of criminal charges hanging over his head, his attorneys said today.

Lawyers for the 18-year-old student from Cary said they are confident McHenry County prosecutors will dismiss two disorderly conduct charges against Lee on Tuesday, clearing his record and making it possible for him to fulfill his wish of joining the Marines after graduation.

"The Lee family is doing well under the circumstances," Lee attorney Tom Loizzo said. "They just want the final chapter to be written and we hope that will be next week."

Loizzo and McHenry County prosecutors said they hoped to have the case resolved by the time Lee appeared in court this morning on charges filed because of an essay he turned in April 23. But a delay in getting results of Lee's recent mental health evaluations to the prosecutors' office put off a decision until at least next week.

First Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Thomas Carroll said the office wants to be certain Lee is not a danger to others before agreeing to drop the charges.

"We want to confirm what we believe the school district concluded and that is that Mr. Lee is not a threat to himself, his classmates or his school teachers," he said. "We attempted to do that today and we were unable to do so.

"We want to wrap this up expeditiously and decide which way we're going," Carroll said. "It's certainly a possibility we make that decision (to dismiss charges) next week."

The essay included violent imagery of stabbings and dead bodies and ended with a statement that Lee's teacher, Nora Capron, could inspire a school shooting at Cary-Grove.

Cary police arrested Lee the next day and by the end of that week he was facing two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct for writings that, according to the criminal complaints, alarmed and disturbed his teacher. …