Ian Elliott gets reduced jail sentence, probation in sex assault case
Former SGA president sentenced to one year in jail, with 189 days credit for time already served
Marking the end of what his defense attorney called "a criminal nightmare," former Central Michigan University student Ian Elliott was sentenced Feb. 7 to serve one year in Isabella County Jail on a reduced charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Elliott, 25, will receive credit for the 189 days he already has served in prison after he previously pled no contest to third-degree CSC in July. The former Student Government Association president withdrew that plea agreement last month with approval from the Michigan Attorney General's office after it found the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the case acted inappropriately.
Former Assistant Attorney General Brian Kolodziej, who prosecuted the case against Elliott, resigned in September after he admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with one of the victims in the case.
Although the one-year sentence is the same length as his previous sentencing for third-degree CSC, Elliott can now receive credit for good time served in Isabella County Jail -- meaning he could potentially be released as early as two months sooner than his original release date.
Elliott's defense attorney, Joe Barberi, predicts he could be released by June 1.
In addition to his one-year sentence, Elliott also agreed to serve five years probation and complete alcohol and sex offender counseling.
The most significant change with Elliott's Feb. 7 sentence, Barberi said, is that he will no longer be required to be placed on the public Michigan Sex Offender Registry. Elliott will now be registered on what Barberi described as a "non-public" sex offender list for 15 years, which will require him to check in annually with law enforcement where he resides.
Barberi said that Friday's ruling marks "the end of a criminal nightmare Elliott has faced over the last two years and three months."
"Today concludes the criminal phase of Elliott's journey, as he accepts responsibility for his actions," Barberi said. "(Elliott) has lost a lot. He had a full-ride scholarship to CMU. He was elected as president of the Student Government Association at age 20. Yet his whole life plummeted after that one night."
Elliott admitted in court to being intoxicated and sexually assaulting a physically helpless victim on Sept. 1, 2016. He pleaded no contest to one count of third-degree CSC on Aug. 2, 2019 and was sentenced serve 366 days in prison. Elliott has served a total of 189 days in St. Louis Correctional Facility, which will be credited toward his one-year sentence.
Judge Eric Janes, who sentenced Elliott in Isabella County Circuit Court Friday, said in his final comments that although the case may have been a "criminal nightmare" for Elliott, the nightmare will "never be over for the victims" of the case.
"This has been a long process, and I don't think there's any winners in this," Janes said. "Hopefully this brings closure to those involved, especially the victims. Kolodziej's actions do not change the fact that (Elliott) pled no contest to a criminal act, which is viewed as a submission of guilt in the eyes of the court."
In a statement to the judge, Elliott said that he acknowledged that he "definitely did not do the right thing" on the night of Sept. 1, 2016, and views the plea deal as a second chance at life.
After an internal investigation of Kolodziej's alleged wrongdoing, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Nov. 25 that she would concur with Elliott’s motion to set aside his plea agreement to third-degree CSC.
“Today’s sentencing closes a long and distressing case for many involved, especially the two victims, who have been put through a very difficult experience,” Nessel said in a released statement Feb. 7. “While several factors contributed to this sentencing, the agreement made with the defendant’s counsel ensures Mr. Elliott will continue to serve time behind bars with additional conditions imposed throughout his probation.”