Former Lake County coroner employee pleads not guilty to making secret recording

  • Dana Dingman

    Dana Dingman

 
 
Updated 8/13/2021 5:23 PM

A former employee of the Lake County coroner's office who officials say secretly recorded conversations with grieving family members pleaded not guilty to all three felony charges against her.

Dana Dingman, 36, of Grayslake was charged with two counts of using an eavesdropping device without consent and one count of official misconduct, court records show.

 

If convicted of official misconduct, Dingman could face up to five years in prison; the punishment for the eavesdropping counts could be up to three years in prison.

Dingman's former boss, Coroner Jennifer Banek, said last month that in April, someone in her administration found a video on an employee's county-owned laptop showing Dingman telling a person that a family member had died.

The video appeared to have been taken from Dingman's cellphone in July 2018 and was made without the consent of the person Dingman was speaking to, according to Banek.

When the video was discovered, Banek said she contacted the Lake County sheriff's and state's attorney's offices to conduct an investigation.

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"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 in a news release. "Finding out a loved one has died is a family's worst moment, and our staff is expected to conduct their duties with the utmost care, respect and compassion"

Dingman was fired from the coroner's office in June, Banek said.

She appeared at a virtual court hearing Thursday morning with her attorney, Gregory Nikitas, and more details emerged about the video. It showed Dingman speaking with two people, one of them a minor.

Dingman is out of jail on a $50,000 recognizance bond.

Dingman is next due in court Sept. 23.

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