|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • COLLEGES

    Agreement ends 2-year sex-assault probe in Montana

  • HELENA, Mont. — A Montana county attorney's office will change the way it responds to reports of sexual assaults under an agreement announced Tuesday that ends a federal investigation into whether gender bias played a role in deciding whether to prosecute rape cases.
    • email print
  • HELENA, Mont. — A Montana county attorney's office will change the way it responds to reports of sexual assaults under an agreement announced Tuesday that ends a federal investigation into whether gender bias played a role in deciding whether to prosecute rape cases.
    The changes by the Missoula County Attorney's Office will include training prosecutors, treating assault victims better, boosting investigation techniques and improving data tracking, communication and coordination, U.S. Department of Justice officials said.
    The agreement is the last piece in an investigation into the University of Montana, the city of Missoula and the county attorney's office. The probe began in 2012, two years before the May 1 disclosure that 55 colleges and universities nationwide are facing similar federal Title IX investigations.
    The Montana investigation found evidence of gender discrimination in the way the county attorney's office handled sexual-assault complaints. Prosecutors were not adequately trained for sexual-assault cases, gave those cases a low priority, often treated victims disrespectfully and did not provide support for victims.
    Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg disputed the findings and filed a lawsuit alleging the Justice Department had no authority to investigate his office. The deal announced Tuesday ends that dispute and calls for Van Valkenburg to drop his lawsuit.
Reader Reaction
      • calendar