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The Missoula Police Department is investigating allegations of two sexual assaults on or near the University of Montana campus earlier this month.

Shortly before the end of the day last Friday, the campus community - along with the police department - received a university email warning that two women had reported that the same male acquaintance forced them to drink alcohol and possibly take illegal drugs before driving them to a home near campus where he "attempted to or did sexually assault them."

The separate incidents reportedly took place on Feb. 10.

"Since that time, we have received information from the University of Montana Police Department about one incident involving a male who unlawfully provided alcoholic beverages to a female," the Missoula Police Department said in a Wednesday afternoon news release.

"The Missoula Police Department's efforts to investigate the second allegation of sexual assault have resulted with the victim identifying herself to detectives late in the day" on Tuesday, the release said. "An interview with the victim occurred at that time."

The Feb. 10 campus police log states that "a female was forced into a vehicle in the Lommasson Center parking lot at around 2:30 a.m." That incident was classified as "alcohol-related."

Although police and university officials last week knew the name of the man allegedly involved, police said they could not investigate without a formal report from a victim.

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Dean of Students Charles Couture also is investigating the reports. UM student code of conduct guidelines allow the university to expel students found to have committed the most egregious violations, such as sexual assault.

One student already has been expelled and another banned from all UM campuses as a result of an investigation launched in mid-December into reports of sexual assaults of UM students.

That probe by an outside investigator, former Montana Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz, began after allegations surfaced that several male students drugged and gang-raped two female students earlier in December. Barz's report, filed last month, expanded to include nine alleged sexual assaults involving UM students between September 2010 and December 2011.

"The UM has a problem of sexual assault on and off campus and needs to take steps to address it to ensure the safety of all students as well as faculty, staff and guests," Barz wrote.

As part of those steps, UM President Royce Engstrom held public forums on campus and in the community to discuss the issue. And late Friday afternoon, the university sent the email to everyone on campus about the most recent assault reports, something it had not done after previous allegations.

Anyone with information about the Feb. 10 incidents is asked to contact Missoula Police Detective Dean Chrestenson at 552-6705, or Crimestoppers at 721-4444.

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