Prosecutor criticizes alert amid Montana State rape investigation which yielded no charges

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BOZEMAN, Montana — The timing of a campus-wide alert at Montana State University following two reports of fraternity house rapes in a single weekend last year might have interfered with the police investigation into what happened, Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert told campus police in a recent letter.

The campus-wide alert could have interfered with witness testimony or led to destruction or loss of evidence, Lambert wrote campus police Oct. 9.

From an investigative standpoint, it would have been better if Montana State hadn't sent the notice until after witness interviews and evidence collection, Lambert said.

The alert was one of several factors in the otherwise unrelated investigations, neither of which has resulted in charges. In the rape alleged at the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter, lack of physical evidence and doubt that sexual contact occurred were reasons Lambert didn't prosecute, he told the university police department.

"There are many obstacles to a successful prosecution of this case," Lambert wrote.

The rapes allegedly happened Sept. 13 and 15, 2013, and prompted Montana State to suspend recognition of the Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Chi chapters.

The university lifted the suspensions but sanctioned the chapters after finding they violated the school's alcohol policy, student conduct code and fraternity/sorority risk management policy.

One woman reported she suspected that she was drugged and sexually assaulted after partying with a man she knew the Pi Kappa Alpha house Sept. 13.

About 32 hours after any possible sexual activity occurred, a sexual assault nurse examiner examined the woman at a hospital.

The nurse reported only a few minor scratches and bruises on her arms and legs. No date-rape drugs were found in the woman's system, the Bozeman Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1ygOAIN).

The other woman reported two men sexually assaulted her in a bedroom at the Sigma Chi fraternity early the morning of Sept. 15. Lambert has not commented on his decision not to prosecute that case.


Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

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