sexual assault

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.

William Marcus

People in Montana who are out of work because of domestic violence will soon be able to get the same unemployment benefits as others who lose their jobs.

Author Jon Krakauer speaks as moderator Larry Abramson listens during about his book "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" during a community forum in Missoula, MT Wednesday May 6.
Cheri Trusler

This is a recording of the entire event with Author Jon Krakauer and Larry Abramson, dean of the University of Montana Journalism School, sponsored by Fact and Fiction bookstore, held at the Doubletree Inn in Missoula, May 6, 2015.

Author Jon Krakauer speaks during about his book "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" during a community forum in Missoula, MT Wednesday May 6.
Cheri Trusler

Author Jon Krakauer got a standing ovation at a forum last night about his new book: Missoula Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.

The capacity crowd of more than 500 people at the Doubletree Inn ballroom applauded Krakauer several times when he stood up for rape victims, and repeated the main point of his book.

“Rape is a serious crime that’s not being taken seriously,” he said.

Montanans this evening will hear directly from the author whose latest book has - for better or worse - cast a national spotlight on Missoula. Jon Krakauer will participate in a public forum to discuss "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town". The book details how the community handled reports of sexual assaults involving University of Montana students.

Cheri Trusler

A new audit shows Missoula is doing a better job of responding to reports of sexual assault. That same audit also says there's room for improvement.

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.”

University of Montana

This is a message from University of Montana President, Royce Engrstrom:

Dear Colleagues,
This morning, Jon Krakauer’s book “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town” was released. I want to share with you my thoughts about sexual assault and the University of Montana because it is such an important topic that all college campuses – student groups, staff, faculty, and administrators – must address.

By his own admission, author Jon Krakauer is an obsessive guy, and his obsessions often turn into books. His best-sellers include Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, both about man's battle with nature. But his latest book is about a far more intimate struggle. The title lays it out plainly: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.

Edward O'Brien

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom presented the annual "State of the University" address today.

Sally Mauk

The Missoula police gave local media a tour of new offices and a new interview room they say will add to their improved response to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
    Sergeant Travis Welsh says the improved facilities are part of the department's agreement with the federal Department of Justice to deal more sensitively with victims.

"They're going to help us relate to victims better," said Welsh. "And be able to understand what we're seeing and what we're hearing as we investigate the cases."

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.

Edward O'Brien

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg met with the County Commission today to discuss the most recent revelations concerning his ongoing dispute with the United States Department of Justice.

Kurt Wilson, Missoulian

Missoula county attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is willing to negotiate a "memorandum of understanding" with the federal Justice department, as a way of resolving DOJ's concerns about the way the county attorney's office has handled past sexual assault investigations.   The offer is contained in a letter written by Van Valkenburg and sent to U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter.