A Justice Department investigation into players on the University of Montana football team has revealed a culture that permitted members of the squad to get away with a litany of offenses, including sexual assault.
According to a report that was released on Thursday, the players were treated like "gods" and were "allowed to get away with anything."
The report revealed that six football players were somehow involved in a sexual assault from spring of 2009 to spring of 2012 and that it took the campus judicial system more than a year to prosecute three of them. Former Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson was acquitted of rape earlier this year, The Huffington Post reported.
Women who attempted to report sexual assaults were discouraged from doing so.
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“Women reported to us that being interviewed by [campus police] officers was emotionally difficult because they were simultaneously interviewed by multiple officers, because they were asked very personal questions without warning and without explanation of the questions' relevance to the investigation, and because the officers' emphasis on the personal burdens involved in seeking criminal justice heightened their fears,” the report said.
The issues the probe revealed are not only a problem at the University of Montana.
"The problems we found at the University of Montana were real and significant," Roy L. Austin of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division said in a statement. "These concerns, however, are not unique to this campus. The women who are subject to sexual harassment and assault know that without support the devastating consequences for them, their classmates and their community are made all the worse. Institutions of higher learning across the country must be absolutely tireless in their determination to fully and effectively respond to reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment on their campuses involving their students."
He added: “Institutions of higher learning across the country must be absolutely tireless in their determination to fully and effectively respond to reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment on their campuses involving their students.”