Quote 3

“Okay,” [Fred] Van Valkenberg conceded. “Technically, I guess [Kirsten Pabst] wasn’t required to appear at [Calvin Smith’s] hearing. But she felt she had a moral duty to testify.”
“She had a moral duty to keep a rapist in our community?” [Kerry] Barrett demanded.

This quotation occurs in Chapter 9 just after Kerry Barrett addresses law enforcement, city officials, and concerned citizens at a public forum on rape in Missoula. It is part of an exchange between Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenberg and Kerry Barrett, a University of Montana student and rape victim. A few months before this exchange, Van Valkenberg’s employee, Deputy County Attorney Kirsten Pabst, testified in University Court on behalf of Calvin Smith, a University of Montana student who raped Kerry Barrett’s friend. When Barrett challenges Van Valkenberg about Pabst’s appearance, Van Valkenberg first lies and says that Kristen Pabst was subpoenaed and legally obligated to testify at University Court. Then, seeing that he can’t trick Kerry Barrett, he resorts to an emotional appeal. Barrett’s forceful retort is an important moment during the Missoula rape crisis. It is the moment the tides turn, and the town finally begins to pay attention to the voices of victims. Kerry Barrett’s argument is more rational and compelling than Van Valkenberg’s. Van Valkenberg is only blindly protecting his office and authority.