County prosecutors improve response to sexual assault cases

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Attorney General Tim Fox says the Missoula County Attorney's Office is in compliance with a 2014 agreement to improve its handling of sexual assault cases.

A 2012 federal investigation found sexual assaults were a low priority in the county attorney's office, county prosecutors lacked the training to effectively investigate and prosecute such cases and that victims of non-stranger rape were often treated with disrespect.

Over the past two years, the county attorney's office has created a special victims unit; participated in training for sexual assault investigation, prosecution and victim treatment; hired a victim-witness coordinator; set clear guidelines for prosecuting such cases and improved communication with law enforcement agencies and community partners.

University of Montana campus police and Missoula police also have improved their handling of sexual assault cases under agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice.

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