MTPR

sexual assault

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.

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