Feds Investigate Mont. Town After 80 Rapes in 3 Years

They think authorities may not be aggressively pursuing sexual offenders
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2012 11:56 AM CDT
In this Nov. 5, 2011, file photo, Montana head coach Robin Pflugrad, who was fired with athletic director Jim O'Day in March after sex assault allegations against two players.   (AP Photo/Michael Albans, File)
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(Newser) – There have been more than 80 reports of rapes in Missoula, Montana, over the past three years, and that figure now has the Justice Department getting involved. DOJ yesterday announced a wide-ranging investigation into allegations that police aren't properly investigating or prosecuting sexual assaults due to gender discrimination, MSNBC reports. They'll also be shining a light on authorities at the University of Montana at Missoula, which has had at least 11 sexual assault complaints in recent months.

The university recently dismissed its head football coach and athletic director, after two players were accused of rape. "There are a lot of women in the community who have strong concerns about the manner in which sexual assaults have been handled," said the assistant AG in charge of civil rights cases. But local authorities insist Missoula's rape statistics are in line with its size. "The heavy hand of a federal government … refuses to tell us what we supposedly have done wrong," says the county's chief prosecutor. (Read more Missoula stories.)

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