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UM's response to sex assaults scrutinized

MISSOULA — A federal prosecutor says the U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil investigation into how Missoula police, prosecutors and the University of Montana respond to sexual assault and harassment claims.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said Tuesday the investigation was opened after his agency learned of complaints late last year that allegations were not being properly handled.

Perez says the federal investigation will look at all 80 sexual assaults reported by women in Missoula over the past three years. Eleven sexual assaults involving UM students have been reported in the past 18 months.

He says the investigation will look for systemic problems and work with agencies to fix them, if any are found.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg called the probe an overreach of the federal government.


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