The University of Montana and the city of Missoula are under investigation for the alleged mishandling of a number of reported cases of sexual assault and rape, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
There have been at least 11 reported sexual assaults involving female university students in the past 18 months, and at least 80 reported in the city in the past three years, said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez in a conference call with reporters.
The university and city officials face violations of Title IX and Title IV, which both prohibit discrimination based on sex. The Department of Education is coordinating investigation efforts with the DOJ.
The University of Montana’s Office of Public Safety, the Missoula Police Department and the Missoula County Attorney’s Office are also facing scrutiny in the department’s investigation.
In March, the university abruptly fired the football team’s head coach and the athletic director. Two football players have been accused of sexually assaulting two women.
Perez said no one incident prompted the investigation but the inquiry will focus, rather, on the “totality of the circumstances.”
On the call with reporters, Perez said he could not comment on the status of the reported rapes as the investigation moves into its information-gathering phase.
Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter’s office is also assisting in the investigation.