Attorney General Reviews Miles City Case
Posted by C.Kee (+378) 11 years ago
Billings Gazette:

Miles City police wrap up investigation into rape allegation
Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 3:50 pm

The Miles City Police Department has completed its investigation of a reported sexual assault on New Year's Day, Chief Doug Columbik said.

"The case has been thoroughly investigated and turned in for prosecution," Columbik said. "It is out of our hands whether the suspect will be prosecuted or not."

The case has been turned over to Custer County Attorney Wyatt Glade, who will decide whether charges will be filed.

The alleged assault on a 30-year-old Miles City woman was reported at about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, according to police. The Police Department has declined to disclose the location of the incident or any other details about the case.

Detective Lt. Josh Stratton was in charge of the investigation, but he has resigned from the department for a position in the military, Columbik said.

Two other officers took over the investigation.
Attorney general reviews Miles City case
Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 10:50 pm

Custer County Attorney Wyatt Glade said the case investigative file has been forwarded to the state office.

Kevin O'Brien, spokesman for Attorney General Steve Bullock, said the case is being reviewed by that agency's Prosecution Services Bureau.

O'Brien said county attorneys generally ask for help when cases are complex or when they may involve a conflict of interest.

Miles City Police Chief Doug Columbik has declined to release many details about the case, which deals with an alleged sexual assault on a 30-year-old Miles City woman that was reported at about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 1.

The police department has not disclosed the location of the reported assault and has not made any arrests, although Det. Lt. Josh Stratton said in March that a person of interest had been identified.

Stratton was in charge of the case, but he resigned in the middle of the investigation for a position with the National Guard, Columbik said.

Columbik would not comment last week on whether the officer left the department in good standing.

But he said that two other officers took over the case after Stratton resigned and that the allegation has been thoroughly investigated.

Glade and prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office will decide whether to press any charges in the case once the review is complete.
Posted by cubby (+2627) 11 years ago
That's pretty sad that MC Star couldn't keep us up to date on this, it's almost like it's getting swept under the rug.
Posted by Ken Ziebarth (+322) 11 years ago
I saw this on the Gazette website more than a week ago and wondered why no one was picking it up, since it was a big issue last winter.
Ken Z
Posted by Nik (+94) 11 years ago
It is very sad...and they were trying to sweep it under the rug until we got 2 new investigators...all we can do is pray that justice will be done...almost 6months this man has been running around Miles City with no charges and no consequence's...
Posted by PDP (+136) 11 years ago
If they don't hurry up and put this guy in jail where he will be safe, I think a bunch of good-ole boys from around here are going to take him up in the hills for our very own version re-make of Deliverance!
Posted by Steve Allison (+982) 11 years ago
PDP's post is why officials and the news paper are very very careful about what information is released and printed. This kind of supposed justice gets the perpetrators in more trouble the the criminals and often is imposed on the wrong person.
Posted by lakeside (+42) 11 years ago
corrupt detective work???? payoffs???
Posted by Steve Allison (+982) 11 years ago
If you read the posted article or the one that ran in the Star, there is no hint of corrupt officers or pay offs. The original officer took a better job with the military, new officers were assigned to take over the investigation. They need to redo a lot of the leg work so they can testify in court as to how it was gathered. I was on a jury a few years ago where some evidence could not used because the officer who gathered it had his Guard unit activated and was serving in Iraq at the time. Yes this slowed the investigation down but I for one would prefer it done right so the prosecutor can get a convection to quick and the guilty go free forever. Remember we have double jeopardy laws that prevent a retrial if someone is found innocent because evidence was excluded.
Posted by Jimmie (+51) 11 years ago
Steve, the official story and the real story aren't always the same.
Posted by Steve Allison (+982) 11 years ago
I would have to ask real story or rumor?
Posted by JCF (+394) 11 years ago
Looks like the real story is in today's Miles City Star:

Monday, June 14

Prosecutor: No enough evidence in alleged rape case
By Star Staff Writers
The Montana Attorney General's office has determined that there is insufficient evidence to file criminal charges in an alleged sexual assault that occurred in Miles City on Jan. 1.
Few details have been released on the case, except that it was a woman who made the report to local police at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, and the alleged assault occurred inside city limits.
The victim was treated for injuries at Holy Rosary Healthcare, according to the Miles City Police Department.
The police have "a person of interest" in the investigation, but no arrests were ever made.
Custer County Attorney Wyatt Glade had requested in May that the Attorney General's office review the case because of its complexity.
Glade received a written response Thursday from Assistant Attorney General Daniel Guzynski of the Prosecution Services Bureau. The Miles City Star obtained a copy of the letter.
Guzynski concludes the letter by saying, "After a review of the entire file including statements of individuals who witnessed the victim just prior to the alleged assault and the absence of a date rape drug in the victim's system, there is insufficient evidence to charge a criminal offense at this time. Should new evidence become available the matter can be reexamined."
Earlier in the letter Guzynski stated, "...the absence of such a [date rape] drug is not conclusive that such a drug was not used; however, there is no evidence that such a drug was used."
Guzynski reviewed investigative reports, numerous witness interviews and crime lab reports, in addition to speaking with the alleged victim, members of the crime lab and investigating officers.
The assistant AG explained, "The allegation of sexual assault in this case is primarily based on the victim not being able to consent to sexual intercourse due to intoxication."
He continued, "The facts presented to me in this case indicate that just prior to the alleged assault the victim had consumed alcohol at a bar in Miles City. "
Guzynski noted witness statements "that the victim was feeling some of the effects of alcohol; however, none of the witnesses indicated that the victim was overly intoxicated. Some of the witnesses have stated that the victim left the bar freely with the suspect."
But that contrasts with the woman's account, Guzynski wrote. "The victim states that she has difficulty remembering what took place prior to leaving the bar and what happened after leaving the bar. The victim has limited memory of any sexual contact between herself and the suspect."
Guzynski wrote that toxicology results did not reveal the presence of a date rape drug, but he also noted that such drugs leave an individual's body very quickly.
The woman stated that she generally does not consume a lot of alcohol, but she has consumed a similar amount in the past without suffering memory loss.
Miles City Police Chief Doug Colombik was out of town so he had not seen the AG office's letter and could not comment.
A call to the alleged victim's lawyers; Edwards, Frickle and Culver in Billings; was not returned before presstime.
Posted by mercy me (+140) 11 years ago
I hope her attorneys follow through. Once again I don't think this was the first or last for this "man".(God that last word tasted like dung when I typed it."
Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6166) 11 years ago
So if you haven't been drugged and freely leave a bar with someone that means you consent to sexual activity? Hmmmmm.
Posted by Levi Forman (+3713) 11 years ago
It means that there's no evidence of foul play. It's too bad if something bad did happen but you have to sympathize with the DAs in that just her admitting to drinking and then having a hazy memory of events afterwards isn't really much to build a case on.
Posted by Bridgier (+9198) 11 years ago
That's why I believe that all sexual encounters (drunken or otherwise) should be videotaped, to avoid situations just like this one.
Posted by Mary B. (+203) 11 years ago
She was badly beaten. I suppose that was consensual too? Such a shame. Hopefully she can gain some measure of justice in civil court.