Missoula County officials to discuss Justice Department this week

Dec 30, 2013

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is scheduled to meet with county officials later this week to discuss the standoff between his office and the U.S. Department of Justice.
      The Justice Department earlier this year reached agreements with the University of Montana and the City of Missoula after investigations revealed deficiencies in how they responded to reports of sexual assault.  Those agreements required UM and the city take several steps to improve their responses.
     Van Valkenburg, however, has adamantly refused to cooperate with the D-o-J.  He says the agency has no cause or jurisdiction to initiate such an investigation of his office.
      This week's County Commission schedule has an hour set aside Thursday morning for Van Valkenburg, the county's Chief Administrative Officer, Risk Manager and Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney to meet.
     The Commissioners' schedule says the meeting may be closed to the public due to  "litigation strategy".
       Van Valkenburg describes the meeting as a general discussion and says no new development has occurred.  He says it's tough to predict where a situation like this could lead and that because it potentially involves a lawsuit, litigation strategy may need to be discussed.
     Montana U.S. Attorney, Michael Cotter, had no comment when contacted today about this week's meeting among Missoula County officials.