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Police Chief – County Prosecutor on Continuing Department of Justice Investigation Into Missoula Sexual Assaults [AUDIO]

Thomas Perez
photo by Peter Christian

On May 1, 2012 the U. S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division arrived in Missoula to look into how the University of Montana, the County Attorney’s Office and the Missoula Police Department were handling reports of sexual assaults.

Led by Thomas Perez of the Civil Rights Division and a staff of assistants, a press conference turned the national spotlight on Missoula and its problems with sexual assaults both on and off campus.

After several days, the federal officials left, and not much has been heard about the Department of Justice investigation, until Thursday.

Police Chief Mark Muir says he heard from the Department of Justice in December, and provided him with a general update on the investigation. Muir said there were very few specifics in the conversation, but he was assured the investigation was ongoing.

County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who openly challenged Perez and his staff at the press conference as to the reasons they were actually in Missoula. Van Valkenburg flatly refused to cooperate with the investigation, and maintained that stance in subsequent requests.

Van Valkenburg said Thursday, that he thinks about the Department of Justice investigation every day and night, and that its ‘like an anvil, and it’s very disturbing’.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg

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Chief Muir says the department is continuing its investigation, and he will release details when appropriate.

Police Chief Mark Muir

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