Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is standing by his word, he and his office didn't do anything wrong. The Department of Justice says that could be the case.
The feds made a stop in Missoula yesterday to announce the start of two investigations in Missoula.
The first, an investigation regarding the University of Montana's response to sexual assaults and sexual harassment. The second includes Missoula and UM police, city and county officials and the County Attorney's Office.
Van Valkenburg says prosecutors have a tough job, especially when it comes to sexual assault cases. ?Usually there's an issue of whether consent was given,? he said.
That's why he thinks the DOJ investigation could be unnecessary.
?It's not their job to prosecute cases in Missoula, Montana, that's our job,? Van Valkenburg said.
And he's not alone; he recalls a similar situation from Syracuse, NY. In that case, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick was investigating child sex abuse accusations against Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.
?I've been a DA for 20 years and I've never seen them (The U.S. Attorney?s Office) investigate a child abuse case,? he said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office stepped in and took control of the investigation. Fitzpatrick says officials promised to keep him informed, but they didn't stick to their word.
?We've been subjected to a 6 month nightmare,? he said. ?I have not had a single communication with the U.S. Attorney's Office since the day before Thanksgiving.?
Fitzpatrick said he doesn?t think the Department of Justice has changed, so he's worried for what could happen in Missoula.
?It's eerily similar to what has happened in my community?If I were Mr. Van Valkenburg I don't think I'd have a warm fuzzy feeling right now,? Fitzpatrick said.
Van Valkenburg is already concerned with the communication. ?It's hard to know what their motivation is when they won't act in the same way that they expect us to act,? he said. ?They won?t tell us what we did wrong.?
Regardless Van Valkenburg says he'll cooperate, but he won't let it interfere with his job. He and his staff will continue to prosecute any and all sexual assault cases as normal.