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Crime & Courts

Former NIU police officer denies rape charge

SYCAMORE – A former Northern Illinois University police officer officially pleaded not guilty today to allegations he raped a student off-duty and off-campus.

But Andrew Rifkin, 25, of Northbrook, also asked the judge this morning to take notice of previous court rulings, including one that found NIU police intentionally withheld evidence favorable to him. He is accused of forcing a sex act on a woman with whom he had an on-going relationship in October 2011, court records show.

Those two witness statements, which ended up in Rifkin's personnel file instead of prosecutors' hands, played a large role in former State's Attorney Clay Campbell dropping the rape charge in November. They also were the main reason NIU officials cited in firing longtime NIU Police Chief Donald Grady.

State's Attorney Richard Schmack, who took office in December, said he reinstated the charge against Rifkin after learning Campbell did not consult the alleged victim before dropping the charge.

If convicted, Rifkin could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison; probation would not be an option. He was fired from the NIU police department shortly after the alleged victim reported the incident.

Rifkin is next due in court April 23.

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