Fred Van Valkenburg Needs to be Stopped Now!

by lizard

Someone needs to take the figurative shovel away from Fred Van Valkenburg, because he clearly doesn’t have the good sense to stop digging the hole he’s in.

On Sunday, some new wrinkles appeared in Missoula County’s scandal-ridden county attorney’s office, sparking anger from apparently uninformed county commissioners:

At midweek, the county commissioners turned to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox for his take on the Justice Department report, which cited specific cases where victims said their allegations had been ignored or discounted by prosecutors. What they learned surprised them.

While he was still attorney general, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock struck an agreement with the DOJ in June of 2012 – at the outset of the DOJ’s investigation into Missoula’s and the University of Montana’s handling of sexual assault allegations.

The pact called on the DOJ to turn over to the state attorney general – whose office oversees all county prosecutors – any new allegations of sexual assaults or new information about previously reported sexual assault allegations.

Fox, as the current attorney general, sent a letter to the DOJ on Thursday requesting that information, citing the DOJ’s allegations that new evidence had been uncovered and that past cases had been mishandled or inappropriately dismissed.

The 2012 agreement wasn’t made known to county commissioners until last week, a fact that has Landquist livid. She had voted with fellow commissioners Curtiss and Bill Carey to approve a $50,000 appropriation from the county’s general fund for Van Valkenburg to challenge the DOJ’s investigative jurisdiction in U.S. District Court.

If Van Valkenburg knew about this agreement, then he had a responsibility to inform the commissioners before they gave him a $50,000 dollar check to start his legal war against the DoJ. Of course Steve Bullock, who made the agreement back in 2012 when he was the Attorney General, could have also reached out to Missoula County Commissioners, but I guess that’s asking too much of a Governor busy grooming his choice for the US Senate.

Now that Van Valkenburg has been emboldened by the commissioners, it appears there is no target too petty for Fred to take on.

After this online letter to the editor was published a few days ago, written by some obnoxious Californian, Van Valkenburg apparently began an angry email correspondence with the guy while still on “vacation”. That story is hitting the Missoulian today:

A California lawyer is crying foul after Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg sent him “vitriolic” emails in response to an online letter on – attacks he said could have a “chilling effect” on First Amendment rights if leveled at other critics.

Jim Ghidella, a San Francisco-based attorney and Missoula enthusiast, wrote a letter published on that was critical of Van Valkenburg’s decision to use $50,000 of public funds to sue the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ghidella received the first email, then responded, citing the “vitriolic tone” of Fred’s initial email. Here is how Freddy responded:

“You regret the vitriolic tone of my email?” Van Valkenburg wrote. “You ought to be regretting the arrogance you showed by claiming to know something about our suit against the DOJ which you obviously don’t know.”

“I don’t think you know what the word regret means,” Van Valkenburg added.

That sounds like a threat to me. And with this latest embarrassment, the hole just gets deeper and deeper. Van Valkenburg needs to be stopped from creating any more wreckage in the wake of his incompetence. That vacation he’s on should be extended indefinitely.

  1. James Maxie

    I’m glad someone is finally standing up to Eric Holder and his goons at the DOJ. They’re clearly the most dangerous and incompetent DOJ in history.

    • lizard19

      maybe you’d feel different if your mom was raped and some jackass prosecutor quoted Bible versus at her.

      • DonH

        Is this a fact? Or an unsubstantiated claim? Wouldnt it be more appropriate to decide upon a course of action after the facts are known?

        • lizard19

          it’s been alleged one prosecutor read a victim of sexual assault Bible quotes. determining factual evidence is made difficult by Fred’s refusal to cooperate.

          • DonH

            If this allegation is proven, then its time to sharpen our axes and move decisively. Until then, we have time to take a deep breath and wait to see whats true and whats not.

            • lizard19

              some people have been waiting two years, when it became clear there was a problem. I’m sure there are victims who have been waiting longer, or maybe they never expected those in positions of power to be held accountable for their behavior.

            • Denial is a river that runs through Missoula.

              Fred knows who quoted bible verses, as do at least nearly a dozen others. You can blind yourself from the reality before you, but please don’t try and make us drink the koolaid.

              All I’m wondering now is what are all of you rape culture rape apologists going to do when those allegations are proven true? When the federal district court not only side with the feds but shuts down Freddie’s insanity with a summary judgement in 50 words or less?

              He’s already been proven the liar that he is – he knew about the DOJ/AG agreement. Stomach that, will ya? Or have the crickets already begun chirping and I missed it through the thunder rolling through my head?

      • James Maxie

        The problem is that Eric Holder’s DOJ has a history of making up facts and leaving out very relevant points. For instance, one of the allegations in the report says that FVV’s office refused to prosecute a rape charge after the victim alleged she was drugged with Xanax. You have to go to the footnotes to find out that toxicology tests showed no Xanax. Why did they bury it there? False allegations are dangerous and we should be wary of them.

        • JC

          I’m no defender of Holder & Co., but at least get the facts right — or at least as reported by the Missoulian:

          “In one particularly disturbing account, a perpetrator was caught on a surveillance camera slipping something into a woman’s drink. The police obtained admissions by the assailant stating that he didn’t remember drugging the woman, but “if I were trying to make her relax, it would be Xanax.”

          Both Xanax and another drug used in sexual assaults were later found in the man’s home by law enforcement officers. When confronted with the video evidence depicting him drugging the woman, the assailant allegedly told law enforcement, “My memory tells me no, but I can’t argue with surveillance.”

          Still, the DOJ reported, the county attorney’s office declined to charge the case due to “insufficient evidence.” No other explanation was given to law enforcement.”

  2. lizard19

    Pogie has another post calling for Fred to go. read it.

  3. When Fred returns to his office tomorrow, there should be a picket line encircling the Missoula County Courthouse calling for his immediate resignation…..

    The County Commission should immediately rescind their support of Fred’s personal vendetta against the DOJ which is wasting tax dollars. we need to prioritize helping make Missoula safer for women by prosecuting rapes and sex assaults. we also need to invest in improving the way victims of these crimes are treated.

    and another thing….. where is County Commissioner Bill Carey in all of this. He seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. Both of the other County Commissioners have addressed this issue- Michele Landquist and Jean Curtiss are angry at Fred and they both seem concerned about whether Fred was even truthful to them. Bill Carey needs to address this fiasco also and explain his vote to spend 50,000 tax dollars to support Fred’s campaign to drag Missoula through the mud in the National spotlight by suing a federal agency which is only interested in improving the way Missoula handles Rape and Sex assaults. the progressive community who elected him deserve to know where Bill Carey stands on this mess. To stay silent any longer only reaffirms that he is ok with it or he is too cowardly to make a stand against a narcissistic lunatic who is out of control. Which is it Bill?

  4. where is Bill Carey?
    Commissioner: Bill Carey
    Phone: 406-258-4877
    Direct: 406-258-3204
    Fax: 406-721-4043
    Email: or

  5. I speak my mind, and it often gets me in trouble. I talk with lots of different authors and they’re rough. I’ve got the 1-star reviews on Amazon to prove it.

    And that’s why they say get a tough skin. I still like what Steve Daines said a month ago: “Have a thick skin and a tender heart.”

    If you want to reply to internet messages, do so where those messages originate – on that site. Email? I don’t know, if that’s where you want to wage your battle. Usually we want our followers to see that we’re fighting, though.

    To me it just represents a serious level of disconnection. I got an email from Van Valkenburg on Thursday night after my comments in the Independent. He served in the State Senate with my grandfather and was not happy with my tone.

    How is attacking me, or this lawyer in CA, going to help anything? I think in one case we’ve seen it’s just become worse.

    I used email in my old job in China to try to get better working conditions for the people working in my office. We came close, had the head of EF China/Russia/Indonesia on a plane to come see us. Then a bigger scandal involving poor working conditions (and one that was costing more money) erupted and he never found the time again.

    I think that’s a much better use of email than browbeating and talking down those that speak their mind. The more in the public eye you are the more people are going to say what they think about you. When you do stupid things they’ll talk a lot more.

    We’re just seeing this here. I’m not sure if Van Valkenburg has ever been on the ropes before, but from all the way’s he’s lashing out and trying to stay propped up against ’em, I’d say it’s a first.

    • I’m sure Fred would be proud to have that email published here. If you’d like, do email it to me at jhwygirl at hotmail.

      That’s a disturbing pattern building – attacking those that question their elected officials.

      I wonder what your grandfather would say.

      • Ha, I think I already ticked off the Montana Chamber of Commerce and Montana Banker’s Association today when I said something to the effect of, “what’s gonna happen in 20 years when all the baby boomers are in the homes and young people like me are making the decisions. Do you think there’s going to be so much emphasis on an extraction-based economy then?” Anyways, I thought it was a constructive meeting.

  6. guilty consciences are overly defensive. He’s hiding something. I hope the DOJ gets to the bottom of this soon….

    This is not normal behavior and it appears that Fred is acting very shaky these days. it is troubling to see this extreme defensiveness in anyone in power, but such emotional reactions which hint at threats are very troubling when Fred holds the awesome power to charge people with crimes….

    He needs to step away from the edge here.

  7. Missoula County and the taxpayers need to step away from Fred Van Valkenburg’s vendetta with the DOJ. Michele needs to reverse the decision to enter into a lawsuit with DOJ and demand Fred’s full cooperation in improving the way the DIstrict Attorney’s office handles rape and sex assaults and better treatment for victims of these crimes. If Fred refuses then the citizens should demand that he resign immediately. Any prosecutor who puts legal fine points ahead of the safety of the citizens that he serves is breaking his oath of office and should be immediately removed by the Attorney General of the State of Montana.

    • When does his term end? Lots of people still support him, and the 35 years or so he served them. That could be an even bigger fight.

      • Support? Fred is a liability. Big time. Civil rights lawsuits can be mighty expensive.

        Page 12 of that DOJ report alleges the prosecution of rape case which didn’t pass state law muster.

        PB is right – electeds can’t be sitting around waiting this one out for the next ten months. This guy is only doubling down every single chance he gets. It’s hard to imagine he’s had this much equity to begin with.

        What a shit show.

        • Lots of comments on the Missoulian show support for him, several on the Independent as well. I get the sense those are in the minority, however.

          • Good government isn’t always run by popularity polls.

            • good government requires reasonable engaged people sincerely interested in achieving a goal. from my perspective, it seems that Fred is turning into Captain Queeg here and the County Commissioners need to recognize this and act quickly before Missoula sustains more damage in the national press. meanwhile victims of rape continue to be ignored by a District Attorney’s office too preoccupied with Fred’s ego to bother with anything that protects the citizens of this county from predators….


              • Golly, problembear, your link sent me over the 10-article limit set by the Missoulian, and I broke down and paid ’em for a year.

                I hope we can see this reply they’re drafting, and pretty soon. The longer this issue simmers the worse attitudes get.

                Already you’ve got dropping enrollments and inflated salaries dominating the news about the university this past week. There’s little to be proud of with that institution right now, and I just don’t see anything coming down the pipeline to solve that if we don’t get this DOJ issue resolved.

                Boy, it’d be nice to talk about some of the cultural problems that are at the heart of this as well, which seems to be alcohol and the general feeling it too often brings about in young people that women are less than human.

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