Krakauer uses Van Valkenberg’s appearance at Beau’s sentence review hearing to transition to a closer examination of Van Valkenberg character. Krakauer argues that, as Missoula County Attorney, Van Valkenberg is responsible for the failure of his office to prosecute rape in Missoula. Krakauer says outright that the County Attorney’s Office bears the brunt of the blame for the rape crisis and for causing a federal investigation in the town. But Van Valkenberg, instead of devoting his attention to resolving the issues highlighted by the federal investigation, expended a tremendous amount of energy trying to combat the investigation and working to maintain the status quo in Missoula.
Outside of Missoula, the U.S. Department of Justice continues to address the way universities handle rape across the United States. As of January 2015, more than ninety major U.S. colleges and universities, including Ivy League establishments like Columbia and Dartmouth, were under federal investigation. Like the Department of Justice’s investigation in Missoula, many of these ongoing federal investigations examine the interaction between universities, law enforcement, and legal prosecutors in university communities. The findings of the federal investigation revealed in Chapter 30 bolster the arguments Krakauer has made throughout Missoula. According to the federal report, victims find that dealing with prosecutors and the legal system forces them to revisit their trauma. Meanwhile, conventional, outdated myths about rape and rapists prevent prosecutors from seeking justice for these same rape victims.