Add a sham marriage to grievances against Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz. The disgraced Gliniewicz, a veteran Chicago cop, orchestrated his own suicide to make it appear like a murder, and is now suspected of coercing his son, DJ Gliniewicz, to marry a woman he had an affair with so that DJ could pilfer a few extra grand per month from the military.
This in addition to a catalog of accusations against Gliniewicz – known as “GI Joe” in his community – that include cocaine use, heavy drinking, workplace sexual assault, fraud and embezzlement. The 52-year-old Army vet, propped up as a supercop by pro-police politicians, was exposed for siphoning off thousands of dollars from the Fox Lake Police Explorers youth program. On September 1, he shot himself in the chest in an elaborate cover-up, making it appear that he was chasing two white men and a black man – none of whom ever existed.
Writes NBC News on Nov. 7: “Joseph Gliniewicz was buried on Labor Day, with thousands of people lining the streets of Fox Lake, Illinois, where the police lieutenant was remembered as a hometown hero who spent his last moments facing down danger. Even in death, he’d fooled them.”
According to reports, Gliniewicz compelled his Army son to marry Kathryn Grams, a woman that Gliniewicz had an affair with. The ruse was designed to increase his son’s haul from the government, since military men are paid more when they have a family to support. The marriage was short-lived; court documents show the pair wed in July 2013, moved into separate homes a month later, and dissolved the sham marriage in late 2014, reports local news station WGN-TV.
Gliniewicz was married to his wife Melodie for 26 years. Investigators said she was likely aware of the affair, the sham wedding and her late husband’s embezzlement. She is being investigated for possible involvement. Her son DJ faces a potential court martial from the military.
The elaborate scheming reportedly even included a “hit” Gliniewicz had put on Fax Lake’s village administrator Anne Marrin because she had uncovered the truth about his sucking funds from the department’s outreach programs. Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Christopher Covelli said that they found cocaine in Gliniewicz’s desk that they suspect he was attempting to plant on Marrin. Text messages also showed that Gliniewicz, a 30-year cop and father of four, was in contact with a “high ranking” gang member regarding the hit and the drugs.
“It’s very unsettling,” Marrin said. “It’s quite unbelievable and almost surreal. It’s a very scary thought that an officer who was sworn to uphold the law would even think to do that to an administrator.”
On September 1, Gliniewicz radioed in after a supposed traffic stop, saying he was in foot pursuit with three suspects through a marshy area of Fox Lake. Officers found Gliniewicz with a gunshot wound to his chest and stripped of his Taser and service weapon. The report touched off a multi-agency manhunt, including police helicopters and K-9 units. Local schools were placed on lockdown. Three men in the area were picked up.
The suspects were fully cleared; in the weeks after, investigators and forensic analysts revealed that Gliniewicz shot himself with his own gun. It was later announced that Gliniewicz had been stealing funds from the department for over seven years.
“When I heard that he was concerned that I was asking tough questions about the police explorer program, it only confirmed to me that asking the tough questions was the absolute right thing to do,” Marrin said at a press conference Thursday. “In fact, getting at the truth about the administration of the explorer’s program was the only thing that had to be done.”
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko called Gliniewicz’s actions the “ultimate betrayal.”
“Gliniewicz committed the ultimate betrayal to the citizens he served and the entire law enforcement community,” he said. “The facts of his actions prove he behaved for years in a manner completely contrary to the image he portrayed.”
Adds the Daily News: “The various groups that raised funds to help the Gliniewicz family are now demanding the money back. And in the little town near the Wisconsin border, placards honoring Gliniewicz as a hero were defaced by someone who drew big letter L’s on his forehead and added the words ‘lied, stole, disgraced.’ Another was replaced by a poster that read, ‘G.I. Joke.’”
Gliniewicz’s son has not commented on his father’s crimes or his sham marriage scheme.