Justice Department Unveils New Details In Missoula Civil Rights Investigation


POSTED: 1:11 AM May 01 2012   UPDATED: 8:31 AM May 02 2012

The US Department of Justice has unveiled new details about its civil rights investigation into Missoula police, prosecutors and the University of Montana.

The two-prong investigation is focused on allegations of a pattern of gender discrimination in relation to reported sex assaults.

NBC Montana reporters attended a news conference with top-level US Attorneys from the department's civil rights department, Montana's US Attorney, Missoula's Mayor, Police Chief and the President of the University of Montana.

The Justice Department reports over 80 alleged rapes in Missoula over the last three years, with at least 11 in an 18 month period involving University of Montana students.

"The allegations that the University of Montana, the local police department and the County Attorney's Office failed to adequately address sexual assaults are very disturbing," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Officials say the federal investigation will look at sexual assaults alleged by all women in Missoula, not just students.

The Justice Department also says its Civil Rights team has uncovered patterns of gender discrimination in the New Orleans Police Department as well as two others.