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Entries in Jordan Johnson (3)

Thursday
Feb282013

Star Montana Quarterback Takes the Stand, Denies Rape Allegations

Hemera/Thinkstock(MISSOULA, Mont.) -- Jordan Johnson, the former star quarterback at the University of Montana, is accused of raping a classmate and former acquaintance. Taking the stand on Wednesday, he insisted he is not guilty. It's being called a classic case of "he-said-she-said."

The incident happened last February, but the 21-year-old alleged victim, whose name is not being reported, didn't tell authorities until more than a month after the night of the incident.

The accuser told authorities that the two had spent time together before the incident but were still getting to know each other. According to her affidavit, she sent a text message to a friend shortly after the incident, saying, "Omg, I think I might have just gotten raped ... he kept pushing and pushing and I said no but he wouldn't listen."

Johnson said she invited him to watch a movie in her room and ultimately picked him up. Johnson testified that he had consumed four or five beers at the time and didn't want to drive.

The prosecution argued that shortly after Johnson arrived in her room, things got ugly, that Johnson positioned himself on top of the alleged victim and became aggressive.

The next day, according to court documents, she went to the University of Montana Student Assault Resource Center and had a medical exam, where the prosecution said bruises were discovered.

Johnson is charged with sexual intercourse without consent -- a felony with a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison. While defendants are not required to testify in a criminal trial, Johnson told jurors Wednesday that he wants people to know what happened.

The defense described the victim as a spurned woman who was jealous of a relationship Johnson was having with another woman he recently started seeing. They pointed to the alleged victim's conflicting text messages to support their argument. In one text to a friend, the alleged victim wrote, "I don't think he did anything wrong."

Rape is said to be the most common violent crime on American college campuses today. In nearly 90 percent of those cases the rape is by an acquaintance, not a stranger.

Due to Johnson’s high profile and investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and the NCAA, the case has made national headlines, with some calling it "trial by Twitter" due to the immense media attention.

The jury can decide the case as early as Friday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Accuser Testifies Against Star Quarterback in Rape Trial

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(Missoula, Mont.) -- A high-profile, he said-she said rape trial is playing out in a Montana courtroom this week, with the alleged victim and the accused, a former star quarterback, facing off in court for the first time.

The first witness was called by the prosecution on Monday in a case that has bitterly divided the city of Missoula, Mont.

The 21-year-old woman whose identity is being protected has accused University of Montana student Jordan Johnson, a fellow student and former star quarterback, of forcing her to have sex after she invited him to her room last February. Taking the stand Monday, she described how the two had flirted, and even kissed a year before she bumped into Johnson again, and the two made a plan to meet up the next night.

"I just wanted to really get to know him," she told the court. "I didn't really hang out with him since a year prior. Just kind of get to know him again, see how school was going."

Johnson's accuser filed a report on the alleged rape six weeks later.

Johnson, 20, was charged last summer with having sexual intercourse without consent. He has pleaded not guilty. Johnson faces a sentence of anywhere from two-to-four years to 100 years, if convicted.

Johnson sat quietly in the courtroom as prosecutor Adam Duerk laid out the case against him in opening statements Monday before a full-day recess Tuesday.

"The nurse will tell you her findings were consistent with non-consensual sex," Duerk told the court.

It's unclear when Johnson's accuser visited the nurse.

The prosecution argued that the alleged victim picked Johnson up from his home, drove him to her house, where things quickly got out of hand.

"He positioned himself on top of her. He changed, his demeanor changed," Duerk said. "He became more aggressive and, in her words, it got real scary, real fast."

But Johnson's attorney told jurors a different story, of a woman spurned.

"She encouraged him. She participated," defense attorney Kirsten Pabst told the court. "She continued. But the fact that he didn't give her a relationship does not make what happened that night a crime."

Johnson's accuser will be back on the stand Wednesday to detail exactly what she says happened that night. Then the jury of seven women and five men will hear what could be a bruising cross-examination by Johnson's attorney.

That a star athlete is on trial has garnered plenty of attention, but many people are watching the case particularly closely because local and university officials have been accused of ignoring or minimizing dozens of rape allegations, leading to investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Calls placed to the university by ABC News for comment on the Johnson trial and on the accusations that it has tried to downplay the numerous student rape allegations were not immediately returned.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb082013

Jordan Johnson Trial: Former University of Montana QB Faces Rape Charge

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MISSOULA, Mont.) -- Jordan Johnson, a former star quarterback for the University of Montana Grizzlies, will Friday face charges that he sexually assaulted a female classmate.

Certain facts will not be in dispute at the trial, which starts Friday with jury selection. Johnson, 20, and his alleged victim agree they flirted at a party in February 2012, and that she was interested in him. He sent her a text message, she picked him up in her car the following night and brought him back to her house, where they began to kiss.

What happened next, however, is fiercely disputed. Johnson says they had consensual sex, but his accuser said "no" and resisted his advances, according to court documents. Afterward, she reportedly sent a text to a friend in which she wrote: "I think i might have just gotten raped. ...I said no but he wouldn't listen..."

In a different text, however, the woman also wrote: "I don't think he did anything wrong."

A month and a half after the encounter, she filed charges against Johnson. He denies any allegations of wrongdoing.

The case has unfolded amid broad federal scrutiny of the Missoula Police Department, Missoula County District Attorney's Office and University of Montana's handling of sexual assault cases.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced in May a probe into the number of reports of sexual assaults in Missoula. During a three-year period, there were 80 reports of sexual assaults, of which 11 were at the university.

According to the DOJ, the purpose of its investigation was to determine whether the university and law enforcement agencies acted properly, adequately and fairly to protect the safety of women.

The school announced in May the NCAA had been investigating its athletic programs for undisclosed reasons.

The U.S. Department of Education, which also was looking into reports of harassment and assault allegations on campus, said Wednesday that it had closed its discrimination complaint because the allegations were being addressed by the Department of Justice investigation.

Police and university officials have been eager to cooperate with the investigations, but Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenberg opposed the investigations when they were launched last year when he denied any mishandling of sexual assault reports.

The allegations have hurt the University of Montana's athletic program. In a statement to ABC News, the university said it takes its students' safety seriously and is participating and cooperating with the investigating agencies.

The university also fired the Grizzlies' head coach and suspended Johnson indefinitely.

Johnson is facing up to 100 years in prison if he's convicted. Another former member of the Grizzles has also been prosecuted for rape.

Beau Donaldson, who was a running back, pleaded guilty to raping an acquaintance in September 2010. He was sentenced in January to 10 years in prison.

Read the full statement from the University of Montana:

The University of Montana has been clear all along that we are participating and cooperating with the investigating agencies. UM takes the safety of our students very seriously. We work continuously -- and we've been doing more in the past year -- to affirm a safe campus for everyone.

This past year, we have focused on reviewing and strengthening the policies that govern how we interact with each other and our procedures for ensuring our codes of conduct are upheld; and we've worked to make sure training and education about sexual assault is in place for students and for faculty, staff and administrators.

We are proud of the tremendous work done across campus to maintain a safe learning and living environment. Recent accomplishments include implementing a campus-wide education program -- an online, mandatory tutorial called PETSA (Personal Empowerment Through Self Awareness), adding another security officer on campus, and working collaboratively with the city of Missoula to address public safety concerns and other neighborhood issues.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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