The Missoula County (MT) Prosecutor allegedly told the mother of a 5 year old rape victim, "Boys will be boys." A deputy attorney allegedly quoted scripture passages to another woman judgmentally. These are some of the allegations that the Justice Department has made in investigating the conduct of this prosecutor and how his office handles rape cases. Last time we checked, scripture applies to men just as equally as women. There is no provision for "boys will be boys."
At the cost of $50,000 of your taxpayer dollars, the county is paying the prosecutor to sue the Justice Department, claiming that they have no jurisdiction over the county. This is part of a larger struggle between state and local authorities and federal government. As part of certain state and county authorities' tactics to limit the powers of the federal government, they are seeking to nullify legislation that they don't like. This runs the gamut from trying to cut off water and electricity to NSA offices located within their jurisductions to nullifying gun control legislation or Obamacare.
The problem with this whole line of reasoning is that federal law, under the Supremacy Clause, trumps state laws. The Constitution vests the power of enforcement of the laws of this land to the President. The President does so usually through the Justice Department and the US Attorney General, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. So while it is true that the 10th Amendment states that all powers not vested in the federal government remains in the hands of the states and people, the Constitution specifically gives the President the power to enforce the laws of the land.
The department opened civil pattern or practice investigations of the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, along with the Missoula Police Department and the University of Montana’s Office of Public Safety, in May 2012. The department investigations, brought under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, focused on allegations that the three law enforcement agencies were systematically failing to protect women victims of sexual assault in Missoula. The department, along with the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, also opened an investigation of the University of Montana’s handling of allegations of sexual assault and harassment of students under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Here are some of the DOJ's findings:
· Despite their prevalence in the community, sexual assaults of adult women are given low priority in the County Attorney’s Office;From the Helena Independent Record link, the prosecutor claims that he is really the victim:
· The County Attorney does not provide Deputy County Attorneys with the basic knowledge and training about sexual assault necessary to effectively and impartially investigate and prosecute these cases;
· The County Attorney’s Office generally does not develop evidence in support of sexual assault prosecutions, either on its own or in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies
· Adult women victims, particularly victims of non-stranger sexual assault and rape, are often treated with disrespect, not informed of the status of their case and revictimized by the process; and
· The County Attorney’s Office routinely fails to engage in the most basic communication about its cases of sexual assault with law enforcement and advocacy partners.
“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 said. “For the DOJ to dump this report on the news media at virtually 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, three days after we have filed a complaint for judicial relief, is totally irresponsible.The last time we checked, people were commanded to obey the authorities by the Apostle Paul; the reason he gave was that they are ordained by God to punish wrongdoers. For a prosecutor to willfully disregard both the laws of this land as well as moral law shows that he is in blatant disregard of his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And "boys will be boys" is not a defense.
“They are trying to manipulate the news in a very, very unfair fashion.”
It is telling, he said, that the DOJ did not respond in any way to Missoula County’s lawsuit or address the overriding issue of whether the federal government has authority over a county prosecutor’s office. “Nothing in this report in any way responds to the legal arguments that we have made, in terms of their lack of jurisdiction.”
The county’s lawsuit will proceed, Van Valkenburg said. “And the DOJ should respond to our lawsuit, rather than try to poison the well with this stuff.”
All I can say is, don't move to Missoula County, Montana anytime soon.