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Krakauer defends book's objective, hopes it results in change

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Jon Krakauer spoke in Missoula about his new book (MTN News photo) Jon Krakauer spoke in Missoula about his new book (MTN News photo)

Proclaiming "rape is a serious crime that needs to be taken seriously", best selling author Jon Krakauer told a Missoula audience he hopes his new book results in changes in how colleges deal with sexual assault.

Krakauer doesn't have to do book tours anymore, but he says he wanted to come to Missoula to explain his new book of the same name, and why he chose to write about the three year old sex assault scandals at the University of Montana.

Hundreds packed the Doubletree Hotel to hear from Krakauer, and his first person explanation of why he chose Missoula out of all the college towns where rape is a problem.

"It was literally by chance," Krakauer explained. It was just on a whim. I didn't think it would be fruitful."

What he thought would be a "short book" about the rape case against former Grizzly player Beau Donaldson, turned into a much larger story. One he says he doesn't regret using the Garden City's name for the title.

"I think it's a really good title. It's not sensational. It's almost like an academic paper. It says exactly what it is. It's concise. 'Missoula, Rape and the Justice System in a College Town'. That's a very brief, accurate description."

Krakauer didn't answer many questions during the "interview". But he did sharply defend himself against UM and other leaders who have criticized him for not completely telling all sides of the story.

"For the university to say 'you never talked to us'. Why would I talk to you when you won't even tell me if this even happened?"

"I didn't go to journalism school. I think I'm very ethical. I really despise this 'he said, she said' journalism. where it's just like well, he said, she said, you make up your own mind. The university, their point of view is well represented in my book."

Above all, Krakauer hopes the volume prompts universities to reform the way they handle sexual assault cases.

"Right now there's all these rapists who are just walking among the other students. They're not even expelled. I mean the studies show this."

While Krakauer got applause during most of his appearance, there was an awkward moment in the end, when retired attorney Thomas Dove tried to challenge Krakauer using some of his press clipping since the book's release. That was cut short when a frustrated Krakauer took the mic away, ending the evening.

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