80 rapes in 3 years: Montana campus assaults prompt Department of Justice probe
This is the headlines for By NBC Montana and msnbc.com news services
MISSOULA, Montana – The U.S. Department of Justice unveiled a broad probe on Tuesday into complaints that authorities were failing to aggressively investigate sexual assault reports in Missoula, Montana, citing more than 80 reported rapes there during the past three years.
The investigation includes a review of the handling of sexual assault and harassment reports at the University of Montana at Missoula, where at least 11 student-related sex assault cases have surfaced in recent months.
At least two members of the university’s Big Sky Conference champion football team, the Grizzlies, have been accused of rape, leading to the recent dismissal of the football coach and the school’s athletic director.
A central thrust of the federal investigation will focus on complaints that local law enforcement has failed to properly investigate and prosecute sexual assaults on women in Missoula due to gender discrimination, the justice department said.
“The allegations that the University of Montana, the local police department and the county attorney’s office failed to adequately address sexual assaults are very disturbing,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
“There are a lot of women in the community who have strong concerns about the manner in which sexual assaults have been handled,” said Assistant Attorney GeneralThomas Perez, head of the justice department’s civil rights division.
Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir acknowledged his department had received roughly 80 rape reports in the past three years. But he said that on a per-capita basis, that figure was at or below the average level of reported rapes for U.S. college towns of similar size and makeup.
Muir, who said his department would cooperate with the inquiry, said he did not know how many of those reports had resulted in criminal charges being filed. Justice department officials said they will be delving into that very question.
Administrators and business leaders say they worry about fallout from the justice department probe and six months of news about sex assault investigations tied to the university. From the fall of 2010 to fall of 2011, full-time student enrollment dropped by two percent.
Montana, this is all you see in the Newspapers and on the news. The University scandals, the MDC scandals, the Catholic scandals and the Montana Prison scandals all of sexual assault. You then see all of the allegations of those outside of the agencies with all of the alleged sexual assaults. I have never seen a state with so many sex offenses for so little of a population. How can Montana DOJ request at the Law and Justice for more money for the budget to add on 700+ for the sex offender registry? There are those that are wrongly accused. There are those that are in prison on other crimes that they are labeling them also under the sex offender registry list. The probation success rate is abnormal. I don’t believe that the U.S. Department of Justice really knows what is going on. I hope they start from the bottom all the way to the top on this kind of investigation then, if they are going to be investigating anyway.
As one person commented on the comment list which is extreme in numbers and in views, this is what he had to say:
Because its a college town, and because it is very progressive, it has a very open and casual attitude towards sex – I do not condone this, but those of us that grew up in the area attribute this more to the influx of culture from East and West coast metros.
Keep in mind, that the reported number of sexual assaults are accusations … I will tell you that this number is inflated by a number of cases of regret. I know first hand a half-dozen men that have had to defend themselves against false charges of assault from women that are using the legal system as a hammer for revenge. I understand that this is absolutely politically incorrect to say, but I know that an element of “man-hating” exists in the town that has started to normalize the thinking that saying “no” after the fact is the same as saying “no” before the fact.
The problem is that this begins to diminish the verocity of the investigations into real rape and assault. And nothing I am saying should be construed to mean that A) there is not a problem in Missoula B) that rape is the victim’s fault.
I happen to agree with this man’s view although I am a lady. There has been a trend, a law that should be looked into, that if a female has consented to sex but just lays there during it she can cry rape afterwards. That is not right. There are some that have been proved to have lied. We have gone to the other extreme. Women have been abused or raped in the past centuries and never was anything done about it. Now women can and will accuse others at the drop of a hat. Some men have even been convicted on hearsay alone. We need to have a balance. Alleged crimes need to be looked into. These type crimes are horrible for the victims. But if a female decides to have sex then she should also be held accountable for her actions. To lie about a situation is just as traumatic for the victim which would be the man in this case. Remember these are allegations…I don’t like the title that NBC of Montana came up with calling it “80 rapes in 3 years Montana Campus Assaults…” I did not see the word “alleged” at all. This makes it sound like they are guilty already. Montana is going to be known for the land of sex offenders at this rate. Montana is making a spectacle of itself and everyone is watching. What a shame Montana. ( Is there an agenda for this? Political? Money making? Prisons for Profit? Focus off of the Secret Service Sex Scandals? There is not going to be any Montana Cowboys left in Montana at this rate!)
- Entire Montana Town Under Investigation for 80 Alleged Rapes [Horrible] (jezebel.com)
- Justice Department investigates handling of rape allegations in Montana (cnn.com)
- Federal rape investigation handling under microscope (ijrnews.com)
- Justice Department to review handling of 80 rape cases in Missoula (rawstory.com)
- Justice Dept. To Investigate Handling Of Sexual Assaults At University Of Montana (thefrisky.com)
- Mont. Official Blasts Sex Assault Inquiry (abcnews.go.com)
- Justice Department probes handling of Montana rape reports (reuters.com)
- Univ.of Montana, Police Face DOJ Probe (myfoxdetroit.com)
- Univ.of Montana, Police Face DOJ Probe (myfoxdc.com)
- 80 Rapes Lead Feds To Investigate Montana Town (inquisitr.com)