Missoula County Attorney ‘s Office Now In Full Compliance With Agreement on Sexual Assault Prosecutions
Attorney General Tim Fox was in Missoula on Wednesday to congratulate Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst and her office for being in full compliance with a 2014 agreement regarding sexual assault prosecutions.
Fox, seated with Pabst in her conference room, said the completion of the formal agreement entered into over two years ago is just a beginning in the effort to bring justice to victims of sexual assault.
"It's not really over, it's just the beginning, Fox said. "There was a lot of work to be done, and I have to commend Kirsten Pabst and her staff for working with my staff to achieve significant goals and to make sure that they had adhered to the requirements of the memorandum of understanding that we signed in June of 2014, but more so, that they went beyond that."
Fox said Pabst spent additional time and resources into compliance with the agreement.
"They really owned it," Fox continued. "They're doing the best for their community to ensure that folks are safe, that victims rights are respected. They've really changed the face of how they deal with sexual assault crimes in Missoula County."
Pabst said her response to the agreement would be totally different that the confrontational style put forth by the previous county attorney, Fred Van Valkenburg.
"We stepped up together and decided that we were going to put aside the bickering and the fighting over whose fault is it and who has jurisdiction, and say 'where do we need to go forward from here'," Pabst said. "We've basically hit the ground running and completely overhauled the process and built this new program brick by brick."
One of the aspects of the new system that Pabst and her staff have implemented is a victim's survey that asked those who have been through the system how the county attorney's office has performed.
"I'm really proud to say that 100 percent of those who have gotten back to us have given us positive feedback, that this experience was meaningful for them, even if the outcome wasn't," she said. "We can't necessarily control the outcomes, but what we can control is the process, and we can make the process more meaningful and hopefully encourage more participation and get more convictions. Because, ultimately what it's really all about is enhancing community safety."