Kirsten Pabst

Mike Albans

When the U.S. Department of Justice started looking into how sexual assault cases were handled in Missoula in 2012, they found a lot of problems. That led the Department to try to establish oversight of the Missoula County Prosecutor’s office.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox ended up taking on that role. Yesterday, he said that his office’s oversight spelled out in a special legal agreement is no longer required.

The Missoula County Attorney says her predecessor may have improperly removed a box from what’s supposed to be a secure file storage area. Missoula police are investigating an alleged breach at the County Attorney’s secure file storage area. That’s where confidential criminal justice information is kept.

Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division speaks at a press conference in Missoula on May 11, 2015, as Missoula Mayor John Engen and Missoula Police Chief Mike Brady look on.
Edward O'Brien

The federal government says the Missoula police department has made tremendous progress in how it handles reports of sexual assault.

"In short, this community has come together to institute long-term, systemic change to protect and ensure the safety of generations to come," said Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Eric Whitney

The book that author Jon Krakauer released Monday, "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town," paints a very unflattering picture of Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst.

Krakauer writes that when Pabst was a county prosecutor in 2011, she dismissed the allegations of at least one sexual assault victim, and that Pabst was, “simply wrong” in recounting what that victim said happened to her. The book is sharply critical of prosecutors’ decisions not to prosecute sexual assaults.

Eric Whitney

The following is a statement by Kirsten Pabst, Missoula County Attorney: 

Tuesday, a book was released about Missoula, addressing the very heartbreaking issue and challenges surrounding acquaintance rape, an important topic that affects so many of us. UM President Engstrom said, "We have strong relationships with officials, the business community and groups across our valley, as he said “when our community faces challenges, we work together to find answers.”

The democratic primary race for Missoula county attorney is more high profile than usual this election - first, since there is no Republican candidate, the winner of the primary will be the next county attorney. Secondly, the current county attorney Fred Van Valkenburg has made headlines because of his legal fight with the federal Justice department over his office's past handling of sexual assault cases.