Feds to eye response to Mont. college sex assaults

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MISSOULA, Mont. — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the way Missoula police, prosecutors and the University of Montana responded to reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The federal investigation was disclosed Tuesday after the agency received complaints that the allegations were not properly handled.

It will look at all 80 sexual assaults reported by women in Missoula over the past three years. Eleven sexual assaults involving university students have been reported in the past 18 months, agency officials said Tuesday.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Eric Holder said in a statement.

The federal agency said it would investigate allegations that police, the university’s Office of Public Safety and the Missoula County attorney’s office engaged in gender discrimination by failing to investigate reports of sexual assault against women.

Printed on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 as: Feds to investigate U. Montana for mishandling assault cases