Case: DOJ Investigation of University of Montana-Missoula's Office of Public Safety

No Court

Filed Date: May 1, 2012

Closed Date: 2015

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Case Summary

On May 1, 2012, the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division ("Division") of the Department of Justice ("DOJ") opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the University of Montana's Office of Public Safety (OPS), focusing on allegations that OPS was failing to adequately investigate and prosecute alleged sexual assaults against all women in Missoula, not just university students, due to gender discrimination in violation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement…

On May 1, 2012, the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division ("Division") of the Department of Justice ("DOJ") opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the University of Montana's Office of Public Safety (OPS), focusing on allegations that OPS was failing to adequately investigate and prosecute alleged sexual assaults against all women in Missoula, not just university students, due to gender discrimination in violation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. (The Division and the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights also launched a companion investigation of the University itself and the Division simultaneously investigated the City of Missoula Police Department and the Missoula County Attorney's Office. These are linked as related cases, below.)

On May 9, 2013, the DOJ released a findings letter, which identified that OPS's response to sexual assaults was compromised by deficiencies in policy, training, and practice.

Also on May 9, 2013, a memorandum of agreement between the Division and the University regarding OPS's response to sexual assault was executed, resolving the Division's investigation. The agreement requires the University to implement or revise policies; provide training and change practices to improve its response to sexual assault, including combating gender bias; retain an independent reviewer and work with the reviewer, community-based organizations and other stakeholders, to develop and implement the reforms described in the agreement; evaluate OPS' success in effecting meaningful reform; demonstrate that its implementation of the agreement has eliminated a pattern or practice of constitutional violations and that it has put in place systems and oversight that will prevent patterns or practices of unconstitutional conduct from recurring; and develop procedures for gathering and analyzing data to assess the incidence and outcomes of reports of sexual assault. The University agreed to pay all costs and fees associated with the independent reviewer, who is mandated by the agreement to produce quarterly written, public reports.

Thomas T. Tremblay, the designated independent reviewer, submitted reports on progress under the agreement on November 6, 2013, June 10, 2014, and December 3, 2014. On June 30, 2015, the independent reviewer issued his final report of sustained compliance, reporting that the University of Montana Police Department (UMPD) had reached compliance under all provisions of the agreement. The report also outlined a sustainment plan under which the University would sustain and continue to build the progress made under the agreement after DOJ oversight. The UMPD agreed to maintain the changes in its approach to sexual assault after the end of the agreement, and to continue in-service training on sexual assault, annual review of policies and procedures on sexual assault response, and improved analysis and reporting of campus sexual assaults through the UMPD/Title IX Compliance Specialist, a new position created under the agreement. The agreement terminated with the final report, and the DOJ announced the UMPD's full implementation of the agreement's requirements in a July 10, 2015 press release.

Summary Authors

Louisa Eberle (11/11/2013)

Heather Turner (5/4/2014)

Sarah McDonald (8/19/2018)

Related Cases

Department of Education OCR Title IX Investigation of University of Montana-Missoula, No Court (2012)

DOJ Investigation of Missoula Police Department, No Court (2012)

Van Valkenburg v. County Attorney's Office for Missoula, District of Montana (2014)


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)

Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia)

Cotter, Michael W. (Montana)

Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

Mondino, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Trepel, Samantha Kay (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Engstrom, Royce (Montana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)

Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia)

Cotter, Michael W. (Montana)

Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

Mondino, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Trepel, Samantha Kay (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Engstrom, Royce (Montana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Justice Department Announces Investigations of the Handling of Sexual Assault Allegations by the University of Montana, the Missoula, Mont., Police Department and the Missoula County Attorney’s Office

May 1, 2012 Press Release

Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States Department of Justice and the University of Montana Regarding the University of Montana Office of Public Safety's Response to Sexual Assault

May 9, 2013 Settlement Agreement

Re: The United States' Investigation of the University of Montana's Office of Public Safety

May 9, 2013 Findings Letter/Report

First Report of the Independent Reviewer Covering June 19, 2013 - October 1, 2013

Nov. 6, 2013 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Second Report of the Independent Reviewer Covering October 1,2013 - April 1, 2014

June 10, 2014 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Third Report of the Independent Reviewer Covering April 1, 2014 - August 8, 2014 and First Year Compliance Assessment

Dec. 3, 2014 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

University of Montana Police Department Final Report of Sustained Compliance Regarding the Agreement Between the United States Department of Justice and the University of Montana in Relation to UMPD's Response to Sexual Assault

DOJ Investigation of University of Montana Office of Public Safety

June 30, 2015 Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Justice Department Announces University of Montana Police Department Has Fully Implemented Agreement to Improve Response to Reports of Sexual Assault

July 10, 2015 Press Release

Resources

Title Description External URL

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Jon Krakauer

From bestselling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana ­— stories that illuminate the human drama behi… April 21, 2015 http://www.amazon.com/Missoula-Rape-Justice-System-College/dp/0385538731/

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Montana

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 1, 2012

Closing Date: 2015

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, investigating into allegations of discrimination against female residents of Missoula in OPS's response to sexual assault.

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

University of Montana-Missoula's Office of Public Safety (Missoula, Missoula), State

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2013 - 2015

Content of Injunction:

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Discrimination Prohibition

Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitor/Master

Monitoring

Provide antidiscrimination training

Reporting

Issues

General:

Disparate Impact

Failure to train

Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures

Incident/accident reporting & investigations

Pattern or Practice

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female