Missoula County Attorney Rejects DOJ Information Request

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Missoula’s county attorney is refusing requests for information from the U.S. Department of Justice as it investigates how his office prosecutes reports of sexual assault.

The DOJ announced in May it was investigating the University of Montana, campus police, Missoula police and the county attorney’s office over the handling of sexual assault reports over the past three years.

Fred Van Valkenburg argues the DOJ does not have the authority to investigate his office. The agency says it does under a section of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which gives the federal government the authority to sue local governments over the conduct of their law enforcement officers.

Van Valkenburg sent a letter to the DOJ on Monday arguing prosecuting attorneys are not law enforcement officers.

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