Pabst: Former Missoula County Attorney Took Items from Secure Storage

County Attorney Kirsten Pabst says Missoula police are investigating

By Dillon Tabish

MISSOULA — Police in Missoula are investigating after the former county attorney removed items from a secure storage area last week, current Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst said Monday.

Fred Van Valkenburg is one of the people seen entering the secure area on May 3, Pabst said. Van Valkenburg took a box containing “unknown, original files and/or property,” she said.

Van Valkenburg, who retired as county attorney in January 2015, said Monday he asked the facilities manager for permission to access the storage unit to retrieve some personal items that he might have left behind.

He found a box of his personal possessions and the facility manager’s assistant looked at the contents, Van Valkenburg said.

Pabst did not contact Van Valkenburg before issuing the statement about the investigation, Van Valkenburg said.

He said the investigation against him may be related to his and Pabst’s differences in a juvenile rape case.

Cody Marble was sent to prison in 2002 after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old boy at a juvenile detention facility. Marble was 17 at the time of the reported rape.

Pabst argued the case should be dismissed because the accuser and two other witnesses had recanted their testimony, and because jail employees said a rape couldn’t have happened as it was reported.

She suggested Van Valkenburg threatened to prosecute the accuser for perjury, leading the accuser to renege on his July 2010 statement that he lied about the rape.

Marble was released from prison on April 21, but District Judge Ed McLean hasn’t ruled on Pabst’s motion to dismiss the case. He said he felt Van Valkenburg should have a chance to comment.

Van Valkenburg has asked to file a friend of the court brief.

Pabst said Monday her office is reviewing its security procedures to ensure such a breach does not happen again. She declined to answer further questions, citing the ongoing investigation.