U.S. Justice Department Launches Probe Into Handling of Sexual Assault Cases at the University of Montana
Posted on May 02, 2012 | Comments 0
The United States Department of Justice has announced that it is joining the investigation into the handling of sexual assault allegations on the campus of the University of Montana. The inquiry will look at how a series of sexual assault allegations within the past year were handled by the local police, prosecutors, and the university administration.
Assistant attorney general Thomas Perez stated that the Justice Department investigation will not examine evidence in criminal cases but rather is aimed at determining if the police, prosecutors, and the university have the systems in place to effectively respond to allegations of sexual assault.
Last December the university hired Diane Barz, the former justice of the Montana Supreme Court, to launch an independent investigation of a series of three alleged sexual assaults on or near the Missoula campus during the fall semester. Published reports indicted that some of the allegations were made against members of the university’s football team.
Judge Barz issued a report which stated that “there is evidence of non-consensual sex that is not being reported in the university system.” She went on to say that “the university appears to have a gap in reporting sexual assaults.”
The head football coach and the athletic director were later fired, although the university did not give a reason for the firings.