CONROE – The family of a man who committed suicide after they say he was unjustly arrested and charged with online solicitation of a minor is now suing the Conroe Police Department.
Brian Petersen, 39, took his life a few days after being released from the Montgomery County Jail in August 2019.
In a five-page suicide note, released by family attorney Randall Kallinen, Petersen, a Conroe ISD teacher, defended himself and said the accusations would ruin his career and his life.
“I am deeply angry at law enforcement as they destroyed me and gave me no other solutions,” Petersen wrote. “This is the type of accusation that destroys a career and a life, no matter the outcome. I cannot live the rest of my life getting a doubting eye every time I talk to a kid near me. I will not spend the rest of my life barely surviving after losing everything. So, I choose oblivion.”
In the letter, Petersen said he was not looking for minors, but often encountered men who would role-play as younger men, and that he would meet those men once he confirmed they were consenting adults.
Petersen wrote that he was suspicious of the person he was chatting with on the gay dating app Grindr, who turned out to be Conroe police detective Darrick Dunn.
“Having a lot of experience with teens, these mannerisms, amongst many others, made it glaringly obviously clear that you were an adult. I wasn’t going to meet a teen.”
Petersen wrote that he asked Dunn to leave him a voice memo in the app, and once he heard his voice, he was certain the person he was going to meet was an adult.
Kallinen said that voice memo is a key piece of evidence that could have exonerated Petersen, but he says Conroe police claim they no longer have the recording.
“The voice message would have been critical in any prosecution of Brian, the fact that they do not have Dunn’s voice recording speaks volumes about who the voice message would have helped,” Kallinen said.
Petersen’s parents are now suing Conroe police for false arrest and malicious prosecution, which they said led to Brian’s suicide.
“We just want to make sure things are done above board. We hope this brings out the truth of what really happened to Brian,” his father, Douglas Petersen, said.
Conroe police said they would not comment on the pending litigation.