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Kirsten Pabst emerges as Missoula’s main antagonist. She silences rape victims, dismisses rape reports, and, in her campaign for County Attorney, hypocritically claims that she will be tough on rape and compassionate toward victims. Early on in Missoula, Kirsten Pabst is working as a public prosecutor in County Attorney Fred Van Valkenberg’s office. She is smart, punchy, and politically savvy. But Pabst seems not to fully understand her professional boundaries and tends to sympathize with young men accused of rape. She testifies on Calvin Smith’s behalf at Smith’s University Court trial.
Kirsten Pabst is good at changing roles. She resigns from the Missoula County Attorney’s Office and keeps a blog in which she writes about herself and her high success rate prosecuting cases. She enters private law practice. Jordan Johnson’s defense attorney, David Paoli, sees that Pabst has finesse and poise that would compliment his more aggressive courtroom style. Kirsten Pabst becomes a member of Jordan Johnson’s defense. In court, she often takes on an ironic and even caustic tone. She describes Dr. David Lisak, the preeminent rape scholar in the United States, as “an erstwhile professor from Massachusetts.” After Pabst and Paoli win Johnson’s case, Pabst writes a blog post in which she says that the Missoula County Attorney’s Office should have never prosecuted the case. Then she runs for Missoula County Attorney promising to be tougher on rape. Above all, Kirsten Pabst is portrayed as a climbing politician. Her hypocrisy serves her personal ambitions.