MTPR

Kirsten Pabst

Missoula police car.
Cheri Trusler

An employee of the State Crime Lab in Missoula has allegedly stolen portions of evidence from pending drug cases.

Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst declined to offer specific details, but said the situation is ongoing.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox with Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, August 17, 2016.
Mike Albans

Missoula County initiated 195 local child protection cases last year. According to Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, that’s a new record.

“We’re seeing a real direct link, at least here, in this community between the rise in methamphetamine use and the need for children to be placed in foster care," Pabst says.

Left to Right: Clinical social worker Andy Laue; First Step social worker MC Jenni; Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst; Missoula Deputy County Attorney Brittany Williams; Missoula Deputy County Attorney Jordan Kilby
Edward O'Brien

Missoula’s County Attorney says helping victims of violent crime is deeply rewarding work.

But Kirsten Pabst adds there’s also a dark side to the job that’s not talked about enough.

“Prosecutors have a really high incidence of turnover, burnout and a really high incidence of suicide," Pabst says. "What we’re learning now, finally, is that doing this kind of work, which is good work and helping real people, isn’t sustainable unless you take care of it and process the trauma that we’re exposed to every day.” 

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.

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