University of Montana Quarterback Jordan Johnson, one of multiple football players at the school recently accused of sexual assault, was charged yesterday with sexual intercourse without consent.
He's the second member of the Grizzlies to be charged with rape this year, and his case is one of many that prompted larger investigations by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Justice Department into how UM handled allegations of harassment by the football team and the way the Missoula Police Department, Missoula County Attorney's Office and the UM campus police have dealt with rape and sexual assault cases, respectively. (You may remember our own trip to Missoula back in May, when the investigations were announced.) On Monday, the NCAA said that it would continue its own investigation, begun in January, into UM's football program.
Here's what happened on the night of February 4th, according to the Missoulian:
In the affidavit, [assistant chief deputy county attorney.Suzy Boylan] described a chain of events that began with a text message from Johnson suggesting that he and the alleged victim get together that night. They decided to watch a movie at her house, and she picked him up because he'd been drinking and didn't want to drive, according to the affidavit.
One of the woman's roommates was asleep, the other was playing video games in the living room, it said.
Johnson began kissing the woman as they watched a movie in her room, it said. Although she first kissed him back, she then said, "Let's just watch the movie," the affidavit said.
"She tried to keep things light and tried to discourage his advances," according to the affidavit.
Although the woman said she told him "no" repeatedly, he persisted, saying at one point, "I will make you," it said. Then he raped her, it said.
The documents described the woman as feeling "scared and ‘shut down,' " and said, "She was afraid he would hit her if she resisted further."
Afterward, according to the affidavit, the woman texted her roommate in the living room, saying "Omg … I think I might have just gotten raped ... he kept pushing and pushing and I said no but he wouldn't listen … I just wanna cry ... Omg what do I do!"
The woman drove Johnson home that night and went to UM's Student Assault Resource Center the next morning. Since then, she's been treated for Rape Trauma Syndrome.
Johnson maintains his innocence and told police the woman was an "active participant." He also added, for reasons that aren't totally clear, that "he stopped communicating with her after he had sex with her because he liked another girl and thought she would be upset if she knew he had sex with" the alleged victim, whom he had been friendly with since 2010 and had been regularly texting for a few months. That sounds like a potential explanation for her rape allegations; she's probably just a needy clinger who regretted her actions when the school's quarterback didn't call her after he slept with her. Yep, that's definitely why she texted her friend right after the incident and went to the Student Assault Center the next morning.
Johnson's case is particularly memorable because, although he was momentarily suspended from the football team after his alleged victim filed a restraining order against him last spring, former head coach Robin Pflugrad reinstated him when it was lifted and soon after called him a person of "character and tremendous moral fiber." Five days later, UM President Royce Engstrom fired him and athletic director Jim O'Day without an explanation.
During my trip to Missoula, I was shocked by how many UM students found it inconceivable that an illustrious football player — a quarterback, no less — would ever rape anyone. "Those guys can sleep with anyone they want," people told me over and over again. To quote from, well, myself:
Most people I speak with struggle to differentiate between drunk sex and drunk sexual assault. They're unable to parrot the politically correct buzzwords they think they should say ("no is no") without adding a caveat or two ("but girls here are attention whores.") For example, everyone agrees that, in the words of a man I meet under the disconcertingly fluorescent lighting at a divey sports bar called Missoula Club, football players in particular "don't need to rape to get fucked." This is despite the fact that at least six of the school's football players were involved in the cases currently being investigated by the federal probe.
Johnson was immediately suspended from the Grizzlies football team, which is scheduled to start practicing Monday, after the charges were announced yesterday. It's unclear whether he's been expelled, but his attorney said he "looks forward to the opportunity to prove his innocence at trial, clear his name and return to pursuing his education" in court on August 14th. If that doesn't work out for him, he'll face somewhere between two years to life in prison for the felony charge.
Grizzly QB Jordan Johnson charged with rape [The Missoulian]
University of Montana QB Jordan Johnson charged with rape [USA Today]
(Image via John Lloyd.)