The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the handling of 80 reported rapes by local law enforcement at the University of Montana in the last 3 years.
The failure by local law enforcement to properly investigate the report of several dozen rapes by university football players has been called “very disturbing” by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Reuters is reporting that at least 11 sexual assault cases were reported in just the last few months with as many as 80 over the last 3 years, with two victim’s claiming they were drugged and gang raped by the players of the Montana Grizzlies college football team in Missoula.
In that incident an investigation led to the football teams head coach and university athletic director being fired and one player charged with rape.
The Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir claims that there is nothing unusual about the claims of sexual assault going on in the town and around the campus of about 15,000 students. Muir says that the 80 reported assaults are at or below the average of other college towns of similar size.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez however, explained that it was not the amount of cases that sparked the DOJ’s investigation but rather how such cases were responded too and handled by the police department after several victim’s claim the department and county have failed to properly investigate the incident’s and prosecute the suspects due to a gender bias against women.
The DOJ will also be looking into the university’s public safety office and the county’s attorney’s office.