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MSU Police Capt. Valerie O'Brien arrested

February 11, 2021
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Photo of an MSUPD squad car taken in 2017.</p>

Photo of an MSUPD squad car taken in 2017.

Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

As of Thursday afternoon, Michigan State University Police Department Capt. Valerie O'Brien has been arrested and is being held at Ingham County Jail.

No charges were listed in the online jail records and no hearing has been scheduled according to online court records.

"We are aware of an incident and the conduct is under review," MSUPD Capt. Chris Rozman said via email. "It would be inappropriate for us to discuss the personnel matter while a detailed review is underway. We are following all applicable policies and procedures as we look into this incident."

After over a year on paid administrative leave, O'Brien was demoted from the assistant chief at MSUPD to captain. She returned to duty on Sept. 8, 2020, as a captain for special projects after being on hiatus since April 2019. Her husband, former MSUPD Detective JJ Bradac was placed on leave on Feb. 1, 2019. He is no longer employed at the university or MSUPD.

As a detective, O'Brien was involved in a 2014 Title IX investigation into Larry Nassar's sexual abuse. The investigation cleared him of survivor Amanda Thomashow's report that he sexually assaulted her.

According to a 2018 report from the Michigan Department of Attorney General, O’Brien was assigned to survivor Thomashow’s case. The report states that O’Brien failed to “consult additional experts, despite being asked to do so” by Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Debra Rousseau.

After O'Brien's investigation, MSUPD submitted a warrant for criminal sexual conduct. Prosecutors declined charges.

"At the time of the 2014 review, Stuart Dunnings III was the elected Prosecutor for Ingham County," Scott Hughes, Ingham County community outreach coordinator said, regarding the declined charges from 2014 and O'Brien's arrest. "Carol Siemon was elected in the November 2016 general election and took office the following January."

"The Assistant Prosecutor who reviewed the case – Steve Kwasnik – has continued as an Assistant Prosecutor and serves currently," Hughes said. "However I did want to point out that this was reviewed under a previous Prosecuting Attorney administration in our county. The criminal prosecution of Nassar occurred under the state Attorney General, and there were additional federal charges that were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Grand Rapids."

Surrounding the recent arrest of O'Brien, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mike Cheltenham said their office is aware of O’Brien’s arrest but has not received a warrant request at this time.

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