In a series of e-mails released by our partners at the Missoulian this weekend, the University of Montana's handling of alleged sexual assaults is called into question. Part of those e-mails included interactions between UM administrators and Missoula Mayor John Engen. Today, Engen spoke out about his involvement.
"I think I overreacted," Engen said matter-of-factly in an interview this morning.
He's talking about his reaction to an e-mail Missoula police officer sent UM administrators about the alleged assaults.
In e-mails obtained by our partners at the Missoulian, Curtis urged officials to "stop this spiraling PR mess and take action instead of trying to defend your actions."
Engen confirmed Curtis wrote the e-mail from his personal account from a personal computer on his own time.
The Missoulian reports UM Vice President Jim Foley wrote Mayor Engen first thing the next morning asking if Curtis was a police officer.
Engen apologized and then ordered Curtis to do the same. Today, Engen says Curtis has First Amendment rights just like everyone else, but called the overall situation a tough one.
"It is a little bit difficult, though, in our positions as professionals," Engen said. "Sometimes it's very difficult for members of the public to separate our personal opinions from our professional lives, and that's difficult for a police officer. To a certain degree I was concerned about that, as well. Yeah, if I had to do it over, I'd do it differently."
Mayor Engen says there's no apparent quick fix to everything that's happened regarding the University. However, he wants people to remember the bottom line is that there are women who have allegedly been attacked and Engen wants to keep the victims priority number one.