MISSOULA, Mont. -

The National District Attorney Association has honored Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg for taking a stand against the U.S. Department of Justice, which sought to investigate the way his office handled sexual assault cases.
    
Van Valkenburg was one of four attorneys who received the president's award Sunday at the association's board meeting in Denver.
    
The association's new president, prosecutor Michael Moore of Beadle County in South Dakota, says Van Valkenburg's stand that the DOJ did not have the authority to investigate his office set a precedent for future relationships between the federal government and elected county attorneys.
    
The DOJ began investigating the way the Missoula police, the Missoula County sheriff's office and the University of Montana handled reports of sexual assaults in 2012. Van Valkenburg refused to cooperate.