State police investigating former prosecutor for potential sexual misconduct

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

The Michigan State Police will investigate potential charges of misconduct in office and criminal sexual conduct in the case of a former assistant attorney general who is alleged to have had an intimate relationship with a victim.

The criminal investigation commenced roughly a week ago when the state police were notified of allegations that Brian Kolodziej had a relationship with the victim in a sexual misconduct case, said Detective 1st Lt. Tom DeClercq, commander of the Michigan State Police’s Special Investigations Section.

No charges have been filed.

Kolodziej resigned from Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office last week, after he was confronted about the allegations connected to a high-profile case against a Central Michigan University student accused of sexually assaulting two women.

The Detroit News was unable to reach Kolodziej for comment.

The alleged relationship occurred between April and August of this year as a trial was pending against Ian Elliott, Nessel’s office told Elliot’s attorney and the Isabella County judge who handled the case.

Elliott pleaded no contest to third-degree criminal sexual conduct this summer in Isabella County and is serving a year in prison.

Former Attorney General Bill Schuette said, to his knowledge, no one in the hiring process was aware of any past allegations of misconduct against Kolodziej when he was hired in September 2018.

Kolodziej’s alleged misconduct is “absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

Kolodziej’s admission to the relationship and resignation Friday came in lieu of an immediate firing, Nessel told reporters this week.

Nessel’s office referred the issue to the Attorney Grievance Commission and is reviewing all of the cases Kolodziej has handled since his hiring in September 2018. She also is developing training for all employees on appropriate relationships with victims.

The Attorney Grievance Commission does not disclose complaints against an attorney until or unless the group authorizes a formal complaint, said deputy administrator Robert Edick.

In similar cases, the commission might examine any such complaint for a potential conflict of interest, general ethical rules governing a lawyer's honesty or fitness, and the prosecutorial obligation to share any exculpatory evidence with a defendant, Edick said. 

The commission largely examines complaints in light of the rules governing lawyers, he said, "but any criminal charges that could result would also be a potential basis for licensing sanctions.”

Any potential charges that stem from the Michigan State Police investigation into Kolodziej would be referred to the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council for an independent prosecution, Nessel said.

Elliott’s lawyer Joseph Barberi has said he plans to meet with Nessel soon about Elliott's case and hopes to convince her that the only possible way forward is to dismiss the case against his client.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith also is reviewing the cases Kolodziej may have handled during his three-year tenure as an assistant prosecutor. Kolodziej served on the county’s Child Protection Unit and prosecuted sexual assault crimes involving minors.

He also worked as a general assignment assistant prosecutor in Genesee County from December 2013 through February 2015.