‘Boys will be boys’ Montana prosecutor tells 5-year-old rape victim’s mom: report
A Montana prosecutor reportedly had a heartless explanation for the mother a 5-year-old rape victim — “boys will be boys.”
The surprising anecdote is just one of the horror stories sex assault victims in Missoula told federal investigators, according to a new report.
The U.S. Department of Justice found Missoula County Attorney’s prosecutors routinely discriminated against female victims, refusing legitimate cases, pushing sex crimes to the lowest of priorities and belittling women who came to them for help.
“We uncovered evidence of a disturbing pattern of deficiencies in the handling of these cases by the County Attorney’s Office, a pattern that not only denies victims meaningful access to justice, but places the safety of all women in Missoula at risk,” said Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
Sex assault cases rarely make it to the Missoula County Courthouse, because they are a low priority to county prosecutors, the federal Department of Justice investigators found.
The department began an investigation in 2012 into the county attorney’s office, Missoula Police Department and the University of Montana’s Office of Public Safety.
Investigators interviewed more than 30 potential victims while reviewing policies and procedures for signs of gender bias and civil rights violations.
The mother of the 5-year-old said she wanted to know why the boy who raped her daughter was only getting a slap on the wrist. She was stunned when the prosecutor reportedly told her, “boys will be boys.”
Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg claims federal investigators are the problem, not his prosecutors.
Another woman claimed a prosecutor recited Bible verses to her, and others said they felt “judged” when they were grilled about their sexual histories.
One said she “would never suggest” another woman go to prosecutors with a sexual assault case.
County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg angrily denied the allegations and said the real problem was the federal investigators.
Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg denies claims his prosecutors routinely discriminated against women in sexual assault cases.
“First and foremost, I think that this is one of the most unfair, unethical things that I have witnessed in 35 years of public life,” Van Valkenburg told the Missoulian newspaper.
Van Valkenburg has continued to fight the federal investigation even though the town and university cops resolved their investigations in May 2013.
He had filed a lawsuit three days before the federal report was released, arguing the agency didn’t have jurisdiction over his office.
He claims the report released Friday is retribution and said the feds have provided no evidence of the allegations.
“It’s impossible to believe these things are true,” Van Valkenburg told the Missoulian. “This is not how the Missoula County Attorney’s Office Conducts itself. These are half-truths, mistruths and maybe even outright lies.”