NIU Police Chief Placed on Administrative Leave

The university's decision follows court findings that call into question whether university police withheld information in a 2011 sexual assault case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Illinois University Police Chief Donald Grady has been placed on administrative leave.

    Northern Illinois University placed its police chief on administrative leave Saturday and said it will fire another officer over the department's handling of a sexual assault case, which has prompted allegations of misconduct.

    "The findings of the court called into question the integrity of the criminal investigatory process, and we cannot under any circumstances tolerate such clear breaches of contracts, authority and responsibility," said NIU President John Peters. "Although it pains me greatly that the university had to take these actions today, we must always strive to do the right thing."

    The university announced that police chief Donald Grady was placed on leave pending the finalization of charges and disciplinary actions under the terms of his employment as well as university policies. NIU also said police Lt. Kartik Ramakrishnan, who investigated the sexual assault case, was notified that the university intends to fire him.

    The university has also appointed a new acting director of public safety to oversee the police force. He spent the day meeting with police department representatives.

    "I want to assure the NIU community that we have strong protocols in place to continue to ensure the safety and security of the campus," said the public safety director, Bill Nicklas.

    The university president has asked the Illinois State Police to review the school's law enforcement procedures.

    On Friday, Judge Stuckert refused to throw out the case despite finding investigators intentionally withheld evidence, ruling that the actions were not damaging enough to drop the charges. She said jurors would be told of the alleged misconduct by the NIU police.

    DeKalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell on Monday asked Illinois State Police to investigate Northern Illinois University's police department and Chief Donald Grady for the way it allegedly handled witness interviews in a sexual assault case.

    Campbell's request follows a judge's assertion during a Nov. 2 hearing that university police withheld information in the case.

    Ramakrishnan told the court that he mistakenly put the statements in the accused officer's internal personnel file.

    Grady did not return a phone message seeking comment Saturday. A man who answered the phone at a listing for Ramakrishnan refused to comment.

    Former officer Andrew Rifkin is charged with felony sexual assault in the case. He has pleaded not guilty.