Sex-assault charges dropped in case involving former NIU cop
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org November 28, 2012 10:04AM
Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady talks to reporters on Feb. 15, 2008, the day after a former NIU student killed himself after fatally shooting five students on campus. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:41PM
Prosecutors have dropped sex assault charges against a former Northern Illinois University police officer after new revelations about possible misconduct during the investigation into the case.
DeKalb County State’s Attorney Clay Campbell made the decision to drop charges against Andrew Rifkin after a hearing Tuesday in which a university police IT expert testified that he was summoned to NIU Police Chief Donald Grady’s office the night of Nov. 9 to remove dozens of files from the chief’s computer, said Rifkin’s attorney, Bruce Brandwein.
A representative from Campbell’s office didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Brandwein said Wednesday he doesn’t know what was in the files but he said the timing was “very strange” given that just hours earlier, a DeKalb County judge had ordered police to sign an affidavit confirming that all evidence in the Rifkin case had been turned over to prosecutors.
Tuesday’s decision comes on the heels of an earlier pre-trial hearing in which DeKalb County Judge County Judge Robbin Stuckert, while refusing to toss out the case against Rikfin, ruled that investigators intentionally withheld evidence that favored the ex-cop.
Rifkin, then an NIU cop, was charged last November after an NIU student alleged he sexually assaulted her. Brandwein says his client would have asserted at trial that the two were in a consensual relationship.
During their investigation, NIU police interviewed two friends of the student who said she had talked about being in a relationship with Rifkin. But investigators never turned over those statements to prosecutors or Brandwein. An NIU police investigator testified earlier this month that he had inadvertently put the statements in Rifkin’s personnel file, rather than handing them over to prosecutors.
NIU officials have since restructured oversight of the police department by appointing a new acting director of public safety.
Brandwein said his client is “very relieved” that the charges have been dropped.
“He’s gone through a very rough time,” Brandwein said.