MTPR

sexual assault

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.” 

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in Missoula Monday
Eric Whitney

Montana’s backlogged sexual assault evidence kits will undergo lab testing beginning this month. Last fall, the state got a $2 million federal grant to fund cataloging and testing of the unsubmitted so-called rape kits. 

In Missoula Monday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, left, joined Sen. Diane Sands, Gov. Steve Bullock and people who helped lawmakers update state sexual assault laws
Eric Whitney

Attorney General Tim Fox joined Governor Steve Bullock in Missoula today for a ceremony to sign six bills updating Montana’s sexual assault laws.

They posed with Missoula Democratic Senator Diane Sands, who carried two of the bills, the most prominent of which removes force from the definition of sexual assault.

Marchers, including Sen. Steve Daines, in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Walk in Lame Deer, Montana May 5, 2017.
Courtesy Sen. Steve Daines

U.S. Justice Department data shows Native women are 10 times as likely to be murdered as other Americans. They’re four times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted.

“It is a human tragedy and it's also a stain on these United States; on the consciousness of this country that allows this to continue to happen,” says Jacqueline Agtuca with the Lame Deer-based National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

Missoula Mayor John Engen, Interim UM President Sheila Stearns, Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss, and Missoulian Editor Kathy Best at a City Club meeting in Missoula March 13, 2017
Edward O'Brien

Missoula Mayor John Engen says District Judge Karen Townsend has again ruled in favor of the city in its effort to acquire the local municipal water company.

Engen says Townsend ruled the entities that fought the city’s use of eminent domain to acquire Mountain Water Company were overcharging for legal services and fees:

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Today, lawmakers in a state Senate Judiciary Committee passed a largely bipartisan package of bills aiming to update laws on sexual crimes. But later, the committee split along party lines, shutting down efforts to change traffic laws.

Lawmakers in the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass a bill out of committee that could change what Montana legally defines as rape, and remove force from that definition.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

During the first week of the 2017 legislative session, senators have discussed a package of 5 bills that could change the future of how sex crimes are prosecuted in Montana. Three of those bills were heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, including one to change how state law defines rape.

Hearing room.
William Marcus

Thursday morning, The Senate Judiciary committee heard the first two bills in a package of 5 that aim to overhaul state law on sex crimes.

One bill would allow a judge to soften penalties on teenagers who have consensual sex.

Senator Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, has introduced a bill to update the definition of sexual consent.
Mike Albans

Over the next two days, lawmakers in Helena will consider a group of bills that could change how the State handles crimes of sexual assault. The Senate Judiciary committee will hear five bills aiming to redefine what the law considers as rape, as well as laws on sex offender registration and crimes among minors and parents.

Dr. Phil Kinsey, director of the Montana State Crime Lab, explains rape kit testing protocols to the task force.
Mara Silvers

Montana is getting a $2 million federal grant to help clear its backlog of so-called rape kits.

Attorney General Tim Fox made the announcement today. He says it will allow the state crime lab to process 1,100 boxes of evidence in sexual assault cases dating back to 1995. Testing the kits could result in suspects being identified in some unsolved rape cases.

Tom Crady, University of Montana vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, at a press conference announcing enrollment numbers at UM, September 23, 2016.
Eric Whitney

The University of Montana’s new Vice President for Enrollment Tom Crady announced the preliminary headcount for school this fall today.

"The bottom line is, we’re down."

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.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox with Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst. Fox says the Missoula County Attorney's Office is now full in compliance with a 2014 agreement to improve its handling of sexual assault cases.
Mike Albans

Attorney General Tim Fox says the Missoula County Attorney's Office is now in full compliance with a 2014 agreement to improve its handling of sexual assault cases.

A 2012 federal investigation found sexual assaults were a low priority in the county attorney's office, and that county prosecutors lacked the training to investigate and prosecute such cases. It also found that victims of rape by acquaintances were often treated with disrespect.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Montana legislators are considering overhauling Montana’s sexual assault laws during the next legislative session. On Tuesday, Montana lawmakers reviewed potential bills that could change the legal definition of rape, revise the mandatory minimum sentences  for rape, and rework laws regarding the penalty for the distribution of sexual images or recordings.

In 2013, the City of Missoula signed an agreement with the Justice Department to improve its policies and practices related to sexual assault prosecutions.
Cheri Trusler

Tell me about your last sexual encounter, describe it in detail, and if you could, please recall it all in chronological order.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Prosecutors and victims advocates today agreed that Montana needs to change its legal definition of rape. They spoke at a task force meeting on sexual assault called by the Montana Attorney General’s office at Carroll College.

Montana capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Montana lawmakers are considering a change to the state’s rape law. A draft bill would update the definition of “consent” in cases of sexual assault. Current law defines the term ‘without consent’ but leaves the word ‘consent’ mostly undefined.

Hearing room.
William Marcus

Attorney General Tim Fox said Tuesday there are 1,400 untested sexual assault evidence kits sitting in law enforcement refrigerators around Montana. The announcement came as a special task force Fox appointed last fall met for the first time at the capitol. 

The Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force was established by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in November to review how the evidence kits are handled around the state and how many of them have gone untested.
Corin Cates-Carney

On Tuesday, Montana’s new Sexual Assault Evidence Task Force meets to talk about so-called “rape kits.” Those are boxes of evidence gathered from sexual assault victims to potentially be used in prosecuting their attackers.

AP Corrects Butte Sexual Assault Story

Feb 4, 2016
Butte Central Catholic School
Sesamehoneytart (CC-BY-SA-4)

The Associated Press has corrected a story we broadcast Wednesday and Thursday about a former high school band teacher in Butte who is accused of sexually assaulting a student and providing alcohol to others.

That teacher, Scott L. Yorke, used to teach at Butte Central High School, not at Butte High, as the Associated Press reported.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

The final two members of a task force on unexamined sexual-assault evidence were named by Montana’s Attorney General today.

An alleged house burglary attempt led to heightened security at a Missoula elementary school early this morning.
(PD)

In every crime, there’s a victim and an offender. But sexual assault cases are different, at least according to former federal prosecutor Anne Munch. She says rape cases have a third party involved, and it’s that third party that makes it very hard to get a conviction.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says there’s too much we don’t know about sexual assault evidence kits that are never submitted to the state crime lab.

Tawnya Crazier is one of more than 30 presenters offering training during the three-day Sexual Assault Summit, which  runs Nov. 10 - 12 in the University Center on the University of Montana campus in Missoula.
Courtesy

Ira Glass is certainly aware of the phenomenal success of his radio program and podcast, "This American Life." But he probably doesn’t know he has changed the dialogue about sexual assault in Montana.

A Montana researcher says colleges and Universities nationwide aren't doing a very good job at giving students information about preventing and responding to sexual assault.

Jennifer Scroggins, an associate professor at Montana State University says schools appear fearful for their reputations.

10/18/2015 - High-profile cases have recently put campus sexual assault in the spotlight. One question that has repeatedly come up: why are these cases being handled by campuses at all? Title IX requires that every school receiving federal aid must take concrete steps to deal with hostile environments and sexual assault. This leaves colleges and universities with the task of figuring out what policies and procedures to enforce.

UM President Royce Engstrom speaks about UM's handling of sexual assaults at a July 10 press conference in Missoula, MT.
Eric Whitney - MTPR

The University of Montana Police Department has met federal requirements to improve its response to reports of sexual assault on campus.

The University agreed to the requirements two years ago, following a 2012 investigation into reports of sexual assaults at the school by the U.S. Departments of Justice, and Education.

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.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
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.

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