(MISSOULA)- Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg says his office will "never" treat sexual assault cases as a secondary crime.
Van Valkenburg offered assurances to the county commissioners Wednesday in an intense meeting with the board, the first since the Department of Justice accused his office of "gender bias" and "disrespecting" sex assault victims.
It's the latest dustup in the on-going fight between Van Valkenburg and the Feds over the lengthy investigation into Missoula rape cases, some involving the University of Montana.
Commissioner Jean Curtiss said the community had "lost faith" in Van Valkenburg's office, urging him to review the DOJ's allegations.
But Van Valkenburg countered that DOJ still hadn't given details, or legal authority to back its claims...
"We do not treat people inappropriately. We don't treat these are low priority cases. We never will," said Van Valkenburg. "There are among the worst kinds of crimes that are committed. And so, in my opinion the DOJ has been extremely unfair. They have put out a lot of bad information to the public."
The DOJ has until early April to respond to the county's federal lawsuit questioning its authority.