County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is “Deeply Disturbed”?

by jhwygirl

County Attorney Fred Val Valkenburg was one of at least two Missoula officials who fired back at the U.S. Justice Department today with a denial of any wrong doing, saying that “we are deeply disturbed” by the allegations and current investigation into any wrongdoings by the county attorney, city police and the University of Montana of their handling of rape & sexual assault cases here in Missoula.

Van Valkenburg is only now “deeply disturbed”?

All I can say to that is “Finally.”

The U.S. Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for the civil rights division Thomas Perez answered back to Van Valkenburg:

We don’t know (what has gone wrong.) That is why we are conducting an investigation. Ahh – there are a lot of women in this community and there are a lot of other stakeholders in this community who have strong concerns right now about the manner in which sexual assaults have been handled.

The DOJ’s preliminary investigation says that there were over 80 rapes in Missoula over the last 3 years, and 11 reported in the last 18 months involving University of Montana students.

80 rapes here in the City of Missoula over the last 3 years, and only now are Chief Muir and Van Valkenburg “deeply disturbed.”

Join the club. I’ve been a bit disgusted myself over the last few months.

(A thanks to kpax news tonight – I couldn’t find the video they used for tonight’s 10 p.m. news, otherwise I’d of linked to it. Van Valkenburg and Perez’s statements were taken from that report.)

  1. there’s at least 80 women in this town who are deeply victimized right now – not only by their assaulters – but by the callous and arrogant way victims of sexual assault have been treated by those who are paid to do their job and protect them.

    it appears that there has been much more interrogation and suspicion cast on the victims than on the perpetrators of sexual violence. in fact, there seems to be a pattern of protecting accused rapists which is designed to intimidate any victims from coming forward. god forbid we should thoroughly investigate the crime and support the victim’s brave decision to come forward and face her.

    i for one applaud the federal probe and i hope it uproots those who have obviously hampered investigation and prosecution.

  2. Mrs. Smith

    I guess jhwygirl and the campus feminists could not get the city and state to waste any more money on this hysteria, so they have sucked the federal government into it.

    Here is a good example of hysteria-mongering in this blog: “The DOJ’s preliminary investigation says that there were over 80 rapes in Missoula over the last 3 years….”

    Here is what the AP article actually stated: “The investigation will look at all 80 sexual assaults reported by women in Missoula over the past three years.” [And note: The article has lumped sexual harassment in with the assault number.]

    Definition of sexual assault: “Any sexual behavior a person has not consented to that causes that person to feel uncomfortable, frightened or intimidated is included in the sexual assault category.” [National Center for Victims of Crime]

    So hype it up, jhwygirl, and try to get your readers to believe 80 women were raped in Missoula in three years, when maybe 75 of them were just feeling “uncomfortable, frightened or intimidated.”

    • JC

      Why the white wash, mrs. smith? The Missoulian article stated the following:

      “A U.S. Department of Justice investigation into how sexual assault cases are handled in Missoula will review 80 rape reports over the last three years, a federal prosecutor announced Tuesday.”

      Here’s Reuters:

      “The U.S. Justice Department unveiled a broad probe on Tuesday into complaints that authorities were failing to aggressively investigate sexual assault reports in Missoula, Montana, citing more than 80 reported rapes there during the past three years… Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir acknowledged his department had received roughly 80 rape reports in the past three years.”

      What’s your interest in minimizing “80 rape reports” down to “…maybe 75 of them were just feeling “uncomfortable, frightened or intimidated”?

      I just don’t understand people who don’t put the interests of victims first. Crazy.

    • That is the first time I’ve ever been called (or referenced as) a feminist. If standing in support of sexual assault & rape victims who were then violated if their civil rights makes me a feminist, I’m proud of it.

      By attacking those that stand with the victims, I guess that makes you a misogynist.

      Just so we’re clear.


  3. Buzz Feedback

    Fred’s too busy busting nickel and dime potheads. He’s got no time for this rape stuff.

  4. BlackBart

    If the 80 number is accurate it’s just the tip of the iceberg since rape is notoriously under-reported — moreso in communities where officials turn a blind eye to victims.
    I’m curious about the Justice Department’s curiosity — could it have something to do with the fact that officials forewarned a foreign national suspect and allowed him to flee prosecution? It is rare that federal prosecutors intervene in even murder cases, and a top-level order makes me think it’s something more than a civil rights case.

    • JC

      Yeah, Police Chief Muir went on to say in the Reuters article:

      “Police Chief Mark Muir… said that on a per-capita basis, that figure [80 reported rapes] was at or below the average level of reported rapes for U.S. college towns of similar size and makeup.”

      Nice bit of whitewashing there too. Just create an atmosphere where victims won’t report, and you can make the whole community look good with bullshit statements like that.

  5. Cathie

    I am a Missoula resident, a lifelong Montanan & graduate of the University of Montana. I also saw KPAX news last night and I want to say that I was very shocked by Van Valkenberg’s reaction yesterday. How can he behave this way? He is an officer of the court and the assistant attorney general is there in the same room and he feels fit to berate him?

    He also stood there and whined about not being told what they were under investigation for. Are you kidding me? He doesn’t know? Here’s a clue: CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. It’s the civil rights division of the DOJ. Did he miss that on the memo?

    Not only that, maybe Missoula law people will now understand that when you are investigating a criminal, you don’t tell them they’re under investigation. That’s because they cover their tracks (or escape.) If the DOJ isn’t telling him anything them maybe that’s because that’s how REAL investigations happen outside this crazy world of Missoula.

  6. petetalbot

    This is sad, sad stuff. My little town is making national and international news: “80 Rapes in Three Years,” read the headlines.

    The city, county and university better get a handle on this, not only for the sake of the victims (which should be the first order of business) but for the sake of the community.

    The Rape Capital of America is not the slogan we want for Missoula.

  7. Mrs. Smith

    Let’s see the Missoulian publish the names, photographs, and the stories of all 80 women who claim to have been “raped.” That’s the only way the public can decide if this crime wave is real or just another mental breakdown by local female neurotics.

    • JC

      In this country we have what are called “jury trials” where the accused gets to make their case. We don’t do public trial of victims in the media, as you demand.

      What you suggest is a harkening back to the days where women were branded with a scarlet letter. You want nothing more than to treat Missoula’s victims like Hester Prynne.

      This is the 21st century, not the 17th, Mrs. Smith. Your characterizations of “local female neurotics” says way more about you than anything about Missoula or its residents. You are an anachronism, whose time is long past.

  8. Martin Czagazy

    Hysterical Women and Noise

    There is something about a hysterical woman that moves a man to action. It makes no difference if the female is a family member or a complete stranger, or whether she is losing her composure in private or in public. If she is crying or screaming or otherwise showing signs of severe distress, men instinctively respond to her by taking some action to calm her down. Maybe mothers teach their sons to react this way whenever they see an emotionally disturbed female, or maybe wives teach it to their husbands. However, there is a strong possibility that men do it mainly because they cannot stand the noise.

    When this individual male behavior becomes collective male behavior, when it rises to the local, state, or national level, serious social consequences result. Essentially, one or more women become hysterical about something, and men respond as a group. For ex-ample, if a few women are frightened out of their wits by “stalkers,” then the men do something to calm down the women, even though the fear of being stalked is beyond the realm of most men’s comprehension. It matters little what is the source of the female hysteria. It could be “breast cancer,” “domestic violence,” “driving under the influ-ence,” “explicit lyrics,” “second-hand smoke,” “sexual abuse,” “trigger locks,” or any number of other real or imagined female issues. What matters is that the women are hysterical, and all men must take action.

    The upshot is a deluge of expedient laws enacted by males merely trying to stop all the female noise. Sometimes these laws actually do some good, such as when more funds are appropriated to research feminine psychiatric disorders, but for the most part the hysteria-driven laws are punitive in nature and serve only to criminalize previously non-criminal acts or to drastically increase the punishment for trivial anti-social behavior. Consequently, law enforcement officers are converted into armed marriage counselors, teenagers do tobacco deals down back alleys, and having two drinks at a wedding be-comes a potential felony. The courts get clogged with misdemeanor cases, and the cor-rectional facilities begin filling up with “repeat offenders,” “predators,” and poor sots who were unaware that being “drunk” is arbitrarily defined as a blood-alcohol content of .08, .04, .02, .01, or whatever the emotionally devastated President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving happens to imagine at the moment. The great irony in all this is that men are the primary target of these laws.

    Male society must stop responding to hysterical females. Let these women weep and shriek in letters to the editor, in TV interviews, and in the streets. Let them spout what-ever bizarre statistics they can concoct. But men should take no action. Otherwise, to soothe this continual hysteria, there will be no telling what activity or substance will be banned next; there will be no end in sight to the current waste of social resources; and the noise, in all likelihood, will never stop.

  9. BlackBart

    Grog right! Grog club wife, drag into cave. Grog vote GOP.

    • Annie Bonneau

      “Grog right! Grog club wife, drag into cave. Grog vote GOP”

      There isn’t any GOP in sight in this, BlackBart. This is happening in Missoula, the queen city of progressives.

      Now the United States of America is camping out in town eying civil rights violations like Missoula was some southern Mississippi town handing out axe handles to keep the blacks from voting or the schools from integrating.

      You can’t blame this one on George Bush.

      Besides, these are frightened women raped, assaulted, drugged, humiliated and ignored. You really think that’s a subject for getting all partisan?

  10. lizard19

    it was pretty surreal listening to NPR this evening. I hope the national attention doesn’t become a circus and detract from the work that hopefully gets done figuring out what the hell has been going on up various command chains in this town.

    not to validate anything Valkenburg uttered with his contemptuous arrogance on full, stupid display—but federal involvement in a big series of cases does seem unusual—at least that’s how the NRP piece framed it.

    it makes one wonder what degree of complicity exists at what level, and whether there are more high-profile suspects we don’t know about yet.

    personally I think the alleged use of rohypnol needs to be thoroughly chased as a lead. station a few plain clothes cops at the Bodega and Stockman’s.

    I just found out a few months ago a woman I work with had her drink spiked last summer at one of those locations. luckily she was with friends who got her home. I think drugging is playing a significant role in some of these alleged sexual assaults. don’t tell me some of the bartenders around downtown haven’t seen or heard about this happening.

    one final thought. the call for a public outing of possible victims names is disgusting. there are women that may get some justice out of this, but even if that happens, because it’s going to happen under a possible national media spotlight, they will have to re-experience their trauma very publicly.

    we should try and remember that as this thing goes national.

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