Democrats urge realignment of money to address sexual assault


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Missoula Democratic Central Committee passed a resolution tonight, calling for the Missoula County Attorney and Missoula County Commissioners to realign their financial resources for sexual assault. County commissioners recently approved the county attorney spending $50,000 to take the U.S. Department of Justice to court, saying it has no jurisdiction to investigate the way his office handles sexual assault. Tuesday, Democratic party members voted 16 to 4 to send a letter, urging the county to allocate no additional money in challenging the Department of Justice, but to focus on improvements in addressing the problem community-wide. Missoula Democratic Central Committee Chairman Dave Kendall told NBC Montana, "There's been a lot of good work done on this issue already, and the lawsuit with the Department of Justice is really interfering with that. If we can move beyond that, we can really get our hands around the problem and begin to address it in a way that can solve it and prevent sexual assaults." In a recent letter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, county commissioners outlined what other steps the county already is taking to provide services to sexual assault victims including crime victim advocate funding, continued training for the Missoula County Attorney's Office and an agreement between the Missoula Police Department and the County Attorney's Office to work on cases together.