Montana creates activity pressure to assessment 100 unprosecuted circumstances, principally alleging sexual violence
The Gallatin County lawyer is making a activity pressure to have a look at greater than 100 circumstances — the bulk alleging sexual violence — that her predecessor’s workplace apparently didn’t assessment to see if costs might nonetheless be introduced.
Audrey Cromwell mentioned Wednesday that in going by means of her new places of work she discovered packing containers below a desk and in a closet containing 113 requests for prosecution that she mentioned had not been reviewed.
The circumstances included 53 investigations of violent rape, 20 sexual assault circumstances, 14 home violence circumstances, eight incest circumstances and 7 circumstances alleging sexual abuse in opposition to kids, amongst others. Fifty-two of the circumstances embody some type of sexual violence in opposition to kids, Cromwell mentioned.
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“Clearly these circumstances have been deprioritized by the previous administration,” Cromwell mentioned in an announcement. “No motion had been taken on any of those circumstances, with the longest case sitting for the previous 14 years.”
A telephone message searching for remark left at a quantity believed to belong to former county lawyer Marty Lambert was not instantly returned. Lambert had been county lawyer for 26 years earlier than he misplaced to Cromwell within the November 2022 election.
“I wish to be clear that legislation enforcement did every part correctly,” Cromwell mentioned. “The failure has been on the County Lawyer’s Workplace, and that stops now.”
Cromwell mentioned she knew the circumstances hadn’t been reviewed as a result of they weren’t within the workplace’s case administration system.
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“So what the method appears like on our finish is when a deputy sends a case for assessment to our workplace, the county lawyer or the chief prison county lawyer will take a fast have a look at that case and assign it to an lawyer to assessment it and open it. And none of those circumstances have been opened,” she mentioned throughout a information convention Wednesday.
The duty pressure will embody Cromwell, prosecutors in Bozeman, Belgrade and West Yellowstone, together with a sheriff’s detective and a sufferer’s advocate.
“I’m heartbroken for the victims of those violent crimes whose trauma was not acknowledged,” Cromwell mentioned in an announcement. “I do know you may have been additional traumatized by the failure of the prison justice system in our county.”
Kelsen Younger, government director of the Montana Coalition Towards Home and Sexual Violence, mentioned she had not heard in regards to the county lawyer’s allegations Wednesday and didn’t wish to remark till she realized extra.
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