DOJ Investigates Failure to Prosecute Non-Stranger Sexual Assault as Gender Bias

After numerous victims of sexual assault from Missoula County, Montana complained that the county prosecutors declined to take action against alleged perpetrators, the DOJ launched an investigation into the matter. Following the investigation, the DOJ sent a letter to the Missoula County Attorney on February 14, 2014. The letter stated that the evidence of low prosecution of sexual assault suggested discrimination against women.

What the investigation revealed may be shocking to many.  In cases of non-stranger sexual assault (that is, when the perpetrator and the victim know each other), the prosecutors often failed to take action. Moreover, prosecutors failed to take action even in cases where perpetrators confessed to the police that they did in fact commit the rape; the prosecutors still claimed lack of evidence.

The preamble to the ABA Model Rules states, “as a public citizen, a lawyer should seek improvement of . . . the administration of justice.” The DOJ’s findings disappointingly suggest that not only are the Missoula County prosecutors failing to meet their basic ethical duty of competence, they are also failing to fulfill their fundamental ethical obligation to reinforce the fair administration of justice, especially as prosecutors who are responsible for representing and protecting the public.

To read more on the investigation, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *