Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Second Federal Investigation Launched Into Montana Rapes, Assaults

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM

On the heels of a U.S. Justice Department probe into a long list of allegations of sexual assault at the University of Montana, a second federal investigation has now been launched. The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights announced Tuesday that it is examining whether UM officials "responded promptly and appropriately to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence."

Earlier this month, the DOJ said it would look into more than 80 reported rapes in only three years in Missoula. The Justice Department said its investigation would focus on complaints that local law enforcement failed to properly investigate and prosecute sexual assaults on women in Missoula because of gender discrimination.

Two members of the UM Grizzlies football team - Big Sky Conference champions - have been accused of rape, leading to the recent dismissal of the football coach and the school's athletic director.

The DOE’s Office of Civil Rights review will check compliance with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

The review “will evaluate ... whether the university’s policies and procedures, and the university’s implementation of those, ensure the elimination of sexual harassment and sexual violence, appropriately respond to such harassment and violence, and eliminate the hostile environment and its effects that can result from such harassment,” a DOE spokesman said.

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