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Ex-Michigan prosecutor Kolodziej to be charged with misconduct in office

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

A former state assistant attorney general accused of having an inappropriate relationship with the victim in a criminal sexual conduct case is being charged with misconduct in office, the Kent County prosecutor said Thursday.

Assistant Michigan Attorney General Brian Kolodziej addresses the court during defendant Ian Elliott's sentencing for sexual assault in Mount Pleasant on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.

Brian Kolodziej, who resigned in September 2019, is being charged with two counts in an Isabella County case but will not face charges in a second case from Oakland County, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said.

Becker's office was tapped by Attorney General Dana Nessel to investigate Kolodziej, one of her former assistants, after Kolodziej resigned during a case involving child sexual abuse. His resignation led to the dismissal of charges against two men in Oakland County and the firing of an investigator from the AG’s office who had been assigned to work with Kolodziej.

“We have found two counts of misconduct in office,” Becker said. He declined to discuss the actual offenses, leaving them “to play out in court.”

Kolodziej's attorney did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Becker said his office had been in touch with Kolodziej's attorney and arrangements would be made for him to surrender and be formally charged with the offenses, which can carry up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Kolodziej resigned amidst accusations that he had an inappropriate relationship with an alleged victim in a 2018 case in Mt. Pleasant involving former Central Michigan University student body president Ian Elliott. Elliott eventually pleaded no contest to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in Isabella County and was placed on probation.

Elliott’s attorney, Joseph Barberi, said he appreciated Becker’s efforts at righting a wrong done to his client; the case against Elliott had initially been dismissed by a judge and then reopened by the attorney general’s office.

“Ian had to leave school, no degree, and is working in the food industry,” said Barberi. “Maybe this is the first step in resurrecting his reputation.”

Barberi said he spoke with Becker's office earlier in the day and his understanding is that one of the misconduct in office charges relates to Kolodziej having  "inappropriate and intimate" relations with the “alleged victim” of his client.

“This  (relationship) went on for several months while he is supposedly conducting an investigation and interviewing people.”

Barberi said the second misconduct in office charge relates to Kolodziej having an assistant rewrite a police report to conform to his view of what had taken place.

“The assistant, Karen Fairley, a former Detroit police officer, protested and told him that wasn’t right and even reported it to her supervisors but nothing was done,” said Barberi.

Fairley was transferred to another division in state government, he said.

After months of legal battling, Elliott was “beaten down emotionally and financially” and chose to plead down to a lesser misdemeanor charge and go on with his life, Barberi said.

Barberi said he and Elliott will be monitoring Kolodziej’s criminal case.

Becker said a review of the Oakland County case involving Sean MacMaster, a Florida police officer, and his 71-year-old stepfather, Larry Orr, did not reveal criminality by anyone.

Becker said Kolodziej, a state police trooper and a Center Line police detective all acted properly.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe, whose detectives investigated child sexual abuse allegations twice raised by MacMaster's ex-wife Johanna MacMaster, said his department was never contacted by Becker’s office, State Police or Center Line as part of his investigation.

“I’m shocked and amazed that the Kent County prosecutor never reached out for information gathered or the reports thoroughly compiled by two of our child sexual abuse experts,” McCabe said.

In the Oakland County case, an internal investigation by the AG’s office found the fired investigator, Lauren Schipani, had allegedly provided false testimony during a bond hearing for Sean MacMaster and Orr.

Becker said his review found no perjury. Orr and his stepson spent seven months in Oakland County and Florida jails before charges were dismissed against them.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319