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AG agrees to set aside plea in sexual assault case, because of prosecutor misconduct

Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

There's been a major shakeup in the case of a former Central Michigan University student who was convicted of sexual assault this summer.

On August 2nd, Ian Elliott pleaded "no contest" to assaulting fellow student Rachel Wilson, and was sentenced to one year in prison.

But the prosecutor in the case, Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej, resigned the next month for having an "inappropriate relationship" with Wilson, the victim. 

On Monday, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced she'll agree to set aside Elliott's plea, because of the prosecutor's misconduct. Nessel is not, however, dropping the original charges filed against Elliott. 

Rachel Wilson says she’s already devoted three years of her life to this case, and while she doesn't want to have to go through a whole new trial, she feels an obligation to other victims who later accused Elliott. 

"And at this point, this is not about me anymore. It is not just me and my fight," Wilson said.

Wilson's attorney, Kelly McClintock, says the AG's office has assured them they are still pursuing the case against Elliott, who is currently serving one year in prison. 

But that sentence could be reduced now, with the possibility of him serving the remainder in county jail, says the Attorney General’s spokeswoman, Kelly Rossman-McKinney. That’ll depend on what motion the defense files, she says, while adding that the AG has no intention of "letting someone who has already pleaded no contest" to sexual assault get off scot-free.

Elliott’s attorney, Joe Barberi, said he’d discuss the options with his client at the St. Louis Correctional Facility on Monday afternoon. 

“I need to get a resolution of this case so that Mr. Elliot...knows how this is going to come out rather than going back to the uncertainty of starting all over.” 

Nessel also announced she’s dropping charges in another of Kolodziej’s cases, in which two Oakland County men were charged with sexually abusing a child under the age of 13. Michigan Radio attempted to contact Mr. Kolodziej, but he hung up on us and his attorney has not yet returned an interview request.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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