Is UM Violating the Civil Rights of Victim and Accused?

by jhwygirl

Oh don’t you know Pete’s correct – I’m going there. This is just one of probably several things I’ll have to say on the recent rape allegations against 3 Griz football players.

What a great headline to wake up to Missoula!

And don’t you know reporter Gwen Florio and the Missoulian were immediately attacked for writing such a story on a day the Griz were to play division championship football down in Sam Houston? Bad enough to criticize the Griz – we’ve done that here to some pretty thick skulls – but to do it on game day? During the championship run?

Montana sacrilege!! How dare they!!!

University Vice President Jim Foley is, of course, out front on this – and conveniently unavailable for interview and he’s with the team in Sam Houston. Foley, in short, is the biggest thug of all with regards to the Griz. He’s been there to defend each and every allegation over I don’t know how many years…and like he’s at work now making sure the University is fully CYA.

The Missoulian reports that the university has hired a private investigator – retired state Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz. Sounds all up-and-up?

I don’t know about that – from Silverstar, who left a comment on December 16, 2011, 3:46 am:

It seems unusual to me that the University of Montana hired an attorney to do an “outside investigation.” Montana’s statute regarding licensing of private investigators contains an exception to allow attorneys to conduct investigations “while performing duties as an attorney at law” just as it has exceptions for debt collectors to conduct investigations related to their duties and insurance adjusters to conduct investigations related to their duties.

Montana Codes Annotated 37-60-105 found at http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/37/60/37-60-105.htm
does not suggest that attorneys can hire themselves out as private investigators unrelated to their duties as an attorney any more than debt collectors or insurance adjusters could. If she is representing the university as an attorney how it can be considered an outside investigation?

The reporter quoted Ray Murray as a representative of the Board of Private Security Officers and Investigators but didn’t mention that Murray is very closely connected with the University of Montana serving as vice president and professor of geology at the University of Montana from 1977 to 1996.

What does that mean? MCA 37-60-105 sure does pretty much say that the “investigator” that the University has hired can only act as an investigator if she is acting in her capacity as an attorney. So that means she has to have been hired by the University as an attorney – which means she is obligated to her client and her client only.

Do you see where this might be a pretty serious conflict of interest?

Not only that, but they couldn’t find someone to investigate that had something less than a 20 year association with the University???

Now – we know from past stories that the Griz team is well-represented when it comes to lawyers and things like a well-oiled CYA press machine (in the form of Jim Foley and pals) – what kind of support is the university giving to the two females involved in this issue?

Foley is pushing for a report by the beginning of the year. Nice. Kids are out of session today – the team is on the road, Foley included…holidays in the wings and he wants to know all he needs to know to protect the student’s University’s Griz’s best interests?

I wonder if the young ladies who the University’s so-called investigator will be speaking with will be fully aware of the ethical and legal obligations the University’s investigator has soley to the University of Montana?

Or was the investigator hired by the athletic department? Hell – considering how things go down there I have to wonder if the investigator was hired by some booster organization.

Not only all that – why is UM hiring an investigator? Katherine Redmond, founder of the Colorado-based National Coalition Against Violent Athletes points out: “If they’ve interviewed both sides, they don’t need a private investigator.”

Which is specifically accurate to Montana Code Annotated law.

Failure of this so-called investigator to disclose these entanglements completely to those that she interviews is, let’s just say, ethically challenged.

Given the possible implications of what she may discover when she interviews the victims, any truly impartial and ethical attorney/investigator would ensure that the victim had legal representation present.

Victim’s rights advocates have a right to be upset. This stinks to high heaven.

Florio and the Missoulian were right to cover this story. The University is in cover-up mode, with an ethically-challenged investigation that is been speed tracked over winter break during a championship run while the alleged victims are out of town.

Rape is one of the most under reported crimes – and here we have two females (at least) that quite possibly were drugged and raped…and no one advising them of their legal rights and counselling them with emotional support.

Meanwhile – the Griz fly to Sam Houston, they’ve got their attorneys…and Foley’s made sure they’ve got a private investigator keeping things all neat and tidy.

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  1. lizard19

    football is money, and too often its athletes are treated as valuable commodities to be protected, which means shielding them from the consequences of criminal behavior that would get us lesser creatures in serious trouble.

    I remember buying weed from a Griz football player as an undergrad. he lived in a dorm, but had a waterbed and a dog, both no-no’s. I figured, since he was a football player, it would probably be pretty safe to buy illegal drugs from him.

    that drugs were allegedly part of this sex assault is really not surprising. I just discovered a woman I work with was drugged at the Bodega several months ago. thankfully her friends got her home before some bro-tastic rapist got to her.

    I’m going to add, somewhat begrudgingly, that the Missoulian certainly deserves credit for making a gutsy call running this story the way they did. some crimes need to be vigorously investigated and prosecuted.

  2. Chuck

    Foley was giving interviews all day. Did you call him?

  3. BlackBart

    If the regents aren’t going to clean up the athletic programs, the least they could do to save some money is hire a permanent full-time criminal defense attorney for the U system.

  4. Turner

    I hope “bro-tastic” doesn’t mean what some are going to think it means.

    • lizard19

      dudebro culture is not race-specific, if that’s what you’re afraid of Turner. it’s an overly hyped testosterone laden vernacular popularized through binge drinking at frat-esque sausage parties. drugging and raping women is like a rite of passage in some of the more violent, hedonistic variations of this culture. i hope that clears up any misperceptions that my comment was a bigoted assumption that the alleged perpetrators of this alleged crime were black men.

  5. Geoff Badenoch

    Whenever I hear of an allegation of rape or sexual assault made by a woman or women, I imagine the woman as my sister, or my mother, or girlfriend. As a man, it otherwise too easy to distance myself from the trauma of sexual assault. This is a terrible thing and can have no acceptance in the community.

    Too root it out, it needs to be disclosed factually in all its horror. Unless we confront it with unimpeachable evidence, its damage will persist, and, so, a thorough investigation that earns the community’s confidence must occur. Cover up is as bad as conjecture, innuendo, and biased supposition about what has happened.

    Those who suffer from this crime deserve the community’s support and empathy to overcome what they have experienced. Those who are proven to have committed this sort of violence, whoever they may be, deserve punishment and the community’s revulsion.

  6. Buzz Feedback

    Perhaps it’s time to contact Roche about a sponsoring Griz football.

  7. Young Men + Young Women + Drugs + Alcohol = not a new equation, but something that happens on every campus in America. When I was in Ames in 1980, the frat parties in Campustown were not much different.

    I’m willing to let the jsutice system take its course, and going back to the title of this post, I don’t think there’s a civil rights issue, just possibly criminal acts.

  8. Matt

    Ah more details I see:
    http://missoulian.com/news/local/student-says-she-was-sexually-assaulted-by-um-football-players/article_5fd79f90-2b8f-11e1-a73a-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=story

    Explain a few things to me..
    1. “Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Bob Bouchee said Tuesday that police met with head football coach Robin Pflugrad after the Missoula County Attorney’s Office made the decision not to prosecute.”
    Why do the police have to check in with the Coach to determine if charges should be made?

    2. How does asking suspects if they would ever do such a thing, count towards their presumed innocence. And if charges are dropped. I’d like to know any other scenario where that would count in the law and justice system.

    This stinks form the top down. Of course, these athletes need to be presumed innocent if they were actually charged. But, we never did get to make it that far.
    The question to ask: What does this victim who basically spoke of 4 guys “having her” for a night have to gain with any of this? She has nothing to gain. The easiest thing would have been to quietly walk away and try to deal with/forget the whole thing.

    Oh, yes.. We’ll have those who’ll say, “what was she expecting” etc… like going to a frat house with 4 football players smoking weed have some sort of entitlement to sexual relations with her.
    Watch for that, in “griz nation”. There will be much defense of that kind of behavior.

  9. jpfs

    I don’t care for griz football much, and I believe that allegations such as this are very, very serious. With that said, its important that you remember that this is exactly what they are, allegations.
    Remember a few months ago when this very blog berated two football players for being involved in a dispute with the police? …And then it turned out (debatably) that it was the police who who acted out of line. The players were eventually charged with a minor offense, which is a topic this blog has not returned too. I find this amusing since this article begins by defending the itself for bravely covering such stories, but omits coverage when it is outside the preferred narrative.

    As for the allegations of UM coverup, this seems completely unfounded. With atrocious sexual scandals such as Penn State and Syracuse all over the press, It seems that UM, is attempting to be seen as responsive. (Hiring outside investigators was considered the best course of action at those schools as well.) I’m wondering what course of action you’d recommend the University take if hiring an investigator is ethically compromising? Do nothing? Yes, it may have made more sense to bring in somebody from out of state with no UM affiliations, but your assertion that because she has association with UM, she is part of some cover up is a farce. As though all involved with UM are pro griz conspirators. Finally, perhaps I am missing the point of your quote from Katherine Redmond, but the notion of a two interview open and closed case seem implausible.

    Again, this is serious shit, and should be treated as such. This includes journalistic responsibility, both to break stories, and cover them factually.

    • Matt

      “Again, this is serious shit, and should be treated as such. This includes journalistic responsibility, both to break stories, and cover them factually.”

      Sounds like you don’t think much of the Missoulian’s coverage of this. Care to enlighten us on what isn’t factual?

    • JC

      I don’t get where you get off on making the accusation that the police acted out of line when the two football players just pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct as part of a plea bargain.

      If you’re going to call for “journalistic responsibility”, you might want to get your facts straight, first.

    • Pete Talbot

      Perhaps the reason there hasn’t been further coverage of the tasing incident here at 4&20 is because the case just went to court yesterday. The defendants pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and were fined a total of $203 and sentenced to 10 days, suspended.

      As to whether the officers overreacted, there’s been an internal investigation with the results to be reported today at a news conference.

      I’m sure there’ll be more info forthcoming. Does that help, jfps?

      • Chuck

        Good for you Pete!
        I’d have to go back to check J-Grl’s Thug slam piece but I think it was also Jim Foley’s idea to “let the judicial system run it’s course”.
        As far as the horrendous rape, assault and drug allegations go I’m waiting for either Florio or Barz to present some facts and some names. If any of it is true I’ll personally lead the charge to imprison the offenders, fire any coaches or administrators that didn’t respond to this girls pleas and I’ll encourage as many Griz boosters as I can to join me.

  10. Turner

    I’m struggling to understand how things work in Missoula. If I were an English major at the U and was accused of committing a crime off-campus, would the police immediately contact the chairman of the English department?

  11. Chuck

    The Missoula paper truely sucks.
    Gwen Florio published a story today that the Missoula Police Chief said the Missoula Police investigation said the tasing by his officer’s was proper. But then I heard from a source that one officer was suspended and reprimanded. Is this true and why wouldn’t Gwen tell that part of the story? You guys seem to know her. Is she just sloppy, in a hurry to pump out some words or what?

    • lizard19

      that question would probably be better directed at the Devlin.

    • I don’t know Gwen, other than engaging her on twitter just like I do a number of people, including some national and international reporters.

      and that’s probably more in defense of her, not me :-)

      I don’t know if what you say is true, Chuck – but why complain about Gwen not covering that when the Chief of police didn’t disclose that in his press conference today? Shouldn’t he have disclosed that – if it’s true?

      You offer all kinds of information over the years – often thrown out there with criticism of why we here or the media aren’t covering something, but hell if I can even email you anonymously to get a little bit more info. In some ways, that’s not really fair.

      Is Gwen sloppy? Has she been wrong? Yet? For all the criticism on even the rape story, the city cops admit having talked to a woman during that time period who asked questions abut rape charges.

      And now the university is investigating with their own attorney/investigator.

      You don’t get to cover crime and courts and get there by being sloppy.

  1. 1 Exactly How Does Missoula Deal With Rape? « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] exactly goes on in this town regarding rape? The University of Montana investigating crimes on its own campus with its own attorney/investigator? And not involving police? Are Universities their own political […]




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