Feds examine response to Montana sexual assaults
By MATT VOLZ | Associated Press – 1 hr 20 mins ago.
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation into the way Missoula police, prosecutors and the University of Montana have responded to reports of sexual assault and harassment after the agency learned of complaints that cases were not being properly handled.
The investigation was disclosed Tuesday after a preliminary examination conducted earlier this year concluded there was enough evidence to move ahead with a full probe, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said.
Lawyers from the Justice Department's civil rights division will look at all 80 sexual assaults reported by women in Missoula over the past three years. Eleven sexual assaults involving university students have been reported in the past 18 months. Prosecutors were trying to figure out whether those university complaints were included in the total number of citywide assaults reported.
Van Valkenburg was the only one to add discord to that message of cooperation. He blasted the Justice Department's probe as an "overreach of the federal government" and said prosecutors refused to tell him what his office is accused of doing wrong.