The rape trial of Jordan Johnson resumes Wednesday in Missoula County District Court after Monday’s holiday and Judge Karen Townsend’s regular law and motions day on Tuesday.

Johnson is charged with sexual intercourse without consent in connection with a Feb. 4, 2012, incident with a fellow UM student as the two watched a movie at her home.

The trial began Friday, Feb. 8, with jury selection that continued into the following Monday, with opening statements that afternoon. Then, the prosecution began its case, calling as its first witness the woman who said Johnson raped her.

The prosecution will continue with its case this week; the defense is expected to start presenting witnesses at the end of the week.

Although much of the testimony focused on information included in previous court documents, several interesting pieces of information emerged during the trial’s first week.

• The private investigator. This person has not testified, but the woman said on the stand that within a week or two after the incident, a private investigator hired by defense attorney David Paoli came to her home and attempted to interview her roommates. Later, he went to her tiny high school in north-central Montana and spoke to her teachers, the woman said.

His visit to her home apparently occurred before the woman made a police report on March 21 about the incident with Johnson, and even before she successfully sought a restraining order against him – citing sexual assault as the reason – on March 9.

• A letter from the university. So far, this has come up only in defense attorney Kirsten Pabst’s opening statement, when she said that “by all accounts, life for Jordan (after the incident) was completely normal, at least for the next week,” until he got the letter. “He was in shock, surprised, scared. At 19, his young life changed that day,” said Pabst. The contents of the letter were not detailed.

• Report to a dean. The woman said that she had no contact with Johnson in the month or so after the incident, until one day she saw him walking near her college. She ran inside and told her dean, and said that she made her decision to report the incident to police at about the same time.

• The university court. Testimony from the woman’s high school boyfriend, Loy Bink, on Friday confirmed that UM has held its own court proceeding in the case.

When cross-examined Friday by Pabst, Bink said the woman had told him the incident left bruises on her chest. However, he said that he’d testified in university court about bruises on her arms.

Peggy Kuhr, UM vice president for integrated communications, said Tuesday that that university court proceeding took place in early May last year.

In a federal civil complaint filed against UM on behalf of an unnamed student accused of sexual assault, Paoli sought to halt UM court proceedings against his client.

The UM court hearing took place May 23, and the court committee voted unanimously in favor of expulsion, according to Paoli’s complaint – which was denied.

The burden of proof in university court proceedings is by “clear and convincing evidence” – a lower burden than the evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” required in criminal cases.

For a conviction on the charge of sexual intercourse without consent, Montana law requires the sex to have been nonconsensual, and for the defendant to have known there was no consent. Physical resistance is not required.

***

Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend has ordered news outlets not to name Johnson’s accuser or shoot photos or video of her or her family, an order that mirrors standard practice by news organizations in any sexual assault case. Nor are photos of jurors allowed.

In addition to the emergence of new information about the case, the courtroom atmosphere remains intense. Most days, the case has attracted a large crowd – including people with close relationships to the case.

Former UM athletic director Jim O’Day attends daily. His son, Brian O’Day, was among those testifying for the prosecution. From his seat in the spectator section, Jim O’Day also has heard repeated questions as to whether the woman who says Johnson raped her was happy – as some of her text messages seemed to indicate – that he and Grizzlies football coach Robin Pflugrad lost their jobs, apparently as a direct result of the Johnson case. The woman denied she derived any pleasure from the firings.

Mick Delaney, named to replaced Pflugrad as head coach, was in the courtroom one day, as was defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak, along with three Grizzlies players, on another day. The players were back in the courtroom on Friday. Gregorak said the idea was to show support for Johnson.

County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg has been in the courtroom as a spectator only, and then briefly.

On the other side of the rail, Assistant Chief Deputy County Attorney Suzy Boylan is joined by Assistant Attorney General Joel Thompson. He works for the Prosecution Services Bureau, which assists county attorneys with major cases.

Also, Adam Duerk, a private attorney in Missoula, is working pro bono on the case, as he has with at least one other high-profile criminal case in Missoula County.

On the defense side is David Paoli, a former Grizzlies player himself (as a nose tackle in the late 1970s and early 1980s). Paoli also is on the National Advisory Board for Grizzly Athletics.

Working with Paoli is Pabst, a former chief deputy Missoula County attorney once widely viewed as Van Valkenburg’s heir apparent. Pabst left that job last spring, well before the county attorney’s office received the results of the police investigation into the woman’s report against Johnson.

Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com, or @CopsAndCourts.

More from missoulian.com

(19) comments

Human Rights
Human Rights

It's sad that something like can be brought to trail considering there is no evidence whatsoever. However, if Johson wins the University and Missoula are vindicated, if he loses they are also vindicated. Afterward they can say "we did the right thing" end of story. Bottom line is that if Johnson loses he will win on appeal because there is no evidence whatsoever. He was railroaded.

mslanativejojo
mslanativejojo

I was convinced, at first, that she was crying sheep and I doubted her. But after today, reading all the tweets, I am convinced Jordan Johnson raped her. Why would she give him a ride home? I have a friend who was raped in high school and it still haunts her to this day and messes with everything she does in her life. We were all there in the next room. She didn't tell me until a couple days later. She never reported it. She pretended it didn't happen. She had class with him every day. It's almost like a state of shock/grief and at times you really blame yourself and it plays games with your head...did it really happen? She gave him a ride home because she was still trying to figure out what the hell just happened. It's called shock.. She trusted him, liked him, and he invaded her. It's unimaginable the kind of trauma your body and mind go through. I think he is guilty and God saw. He will punished when the time is right.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Interesting mslanative. With all do respect I am curious to know what it was in todays testimony that convinced you Johnson raped this woman? I read through the tweets and was thinking to myself there was nothing today that really jumped out at me. I thought testimony from the witness in days prior had the potential to be more incriminating than what was said today which was pretty much Does cried a lot and people consoled her based on what she had told them even though she did not tell them exactly what transpired that evening. (Left out several important details)

.......

I am not certain he is guilty nor am I certain he is innocent. I was just curious as to what (specifically) today made you change your mind?

mslanativejojo
mslanativejojo

Totally valid question. I am reflecting on how my friend felt after she was raped, her odd behavior, not sure who to ask for help, etc. I remember seeing her just spiral...some days good, some days just crying and to this day the doesn't know how to put that situation behind her. She has tried to move on, it happened in high school and we are well into our 30's now. I remember being in the circle of friends convincing her to get help, but he was very popular and she didn't want to make a big show of it, esp in the high school setting. Her behavior is pretty much identical to my friends, signs of trauma/assault. You can't really fake it, believe it or not. Thank you for asking. This is just what I feel.

griznationbaby
griznationbaby

Gwen Florio is and always will be a strongly biased journalist. I would have been honored to do write ups on this case, actual unbiased write-ups that cover many perspectives to this alleged rape case, not just a one-sided, narrow-minded, attempt to persuade that one side you believe is true kind of an article. I'd respect her 200% more if she magically grew up as a journalist, as I don't even see her writing abilities appropriate for a high school paper...
I've looked at newspaper articles from the 1950's (middle school ones), and their articles (from 12-13 year old's back in the day) blow modern day "professional" newspaper articles out of the water. Yet, the Missoulian charges a whopping $2 for their Sunday paper, which seems thick, but after you remove all the advertisement pages the thickness is cut in half... and all you are left with is decent Associated Press articles, and maybe 1 decent local article...

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

If I am on the jury, and I am not of course, and I hear the question about the victim telling her Mom that she "had better get on my side or I will have nothing to do with you", which the victim acknowledged saying to her Mom, that is a gigantic sky filling red flag to me. Nice that the reporter here brought in that little fact along with a few others. I like Hellgate's name for the former boyfriend of the victim..."binky"...who I am sure had plenty to say at the kangaroo court UM proceeding that went no where because on advice of their legal counsel, had they expelled Johnson they would have found themselves in a grown up court!. Maybe better to leave that to the grown ups UM Like at District Court? Where it is now and then act if he is convicted? Idiots! Clear and convincing evidence? There is nothing clear and convincing here much less beyond a reasonable doubt...look forward to hearing more from the prosecution this week who is doing the best they can with little to work with. I will give them that...oh and a gun to their head from the Department of Justice. I am on the fence but have a few red flags that keep popping up if I am on the jury. Oh the nurse at First Step is huge. We do not convict someone before a trial ....nothing to celebrate in sexual assault, on any side of the issue if it really happened. They act like O'Day told Johnson to go assault someone...ridiculous people.

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall

Haven't I seen some of you guys on Egriz...that hotbed of jock sniffing trogs and bad grammar? For anyone seeking low comedy, I recommend a visit to that site. At any rate, Muralist, I'd recommend slowing down a bit and striving for coherence. Many of us have our doubts about this case -- and that relates to the stories from both sides -- but a little suspension of belief and a reining in of rabidity is called for at these times. The fact that a reporter is not following your party line is more likely to be evidence of their competence rather than its opposite.

dave ajou
dave ajou

Jock sniffing trogs. Nice. You know Bob, the people I've met who aren't into sports fall primarily into two categories. The first category is comprised of people who just don't care, and have other things on their radar. The second category is overwhelmingly populated by people who are so desperately jealous of anybody with athletic ability, that they are compelled to lash out and attack athletes, and people who enjoy competition. Perhaps reigning ( note that I refrained from a spelling reference ) in your own rabidity, and storing it in your glass house might not be a bad idea.

walter12
walter12

The nortorious leftist groups from UM that have pushed this woman into this sad, sordid affair of a trial, will rue the day if he should be found innocent. And the woman will have to move away from Missoula.

msogirl
msogirl

Bittersweet - seems you know a few more details then the average "Missoulian" Are you in the courtroom? If so, what's your connection to this case? Are you on the jury? I'm a skeptic - fill us all in. Once again the alledged rape victim is on trial not Johnson. She has to prove he's guilty of this crime - not the way it should be.

dave ajou
dave ajou

He is only providing details that also ran in the Missoulian, or came from tweets. He is also pointing out that picking and choosing which " emerging details" a journalist chooses to print can skew opinion one way or another. The foundation of our legal system is the presumption of innocence, that is the way it should be. As offensive as some cases may be where innocence is presumed, Joseph Duncan for example, vigilante justice and preconceived notions of guilt serve no one.

Roger
Roger

Stop the feminist nonsense - the accuser is not on trial, but the accused person is entitled to presumption of innocence, even if you do not appear to understand that important legal principle. The accuser's story is so weird and bizarre that it's a travesty of justice that the accused was even brought to trial. Plus we've got a biased judge who ordered that the accuser must be referred to as "the victim".

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Only those in the courtroom for the entire trial will be able to form a fair opinion that is not influenced by outsiders, weather that be the media, family or friends. I often wonder if this reporter had convicted Johnson in her own mind from day one and it is reflected in her work.

You must be high
You must be high

msogirl, ... Please tell me you're not serious. While I think it's good that you're a skeptic, I don't think you understand justice. Of course they have to Prove he's guilty of this crime. That is as it should be. That's what we call justice. The due process idea. Look it up.
And yes, you too can sit in the court room. I suggest you do. You could learn a bit about how our justice system works.

hellgatenights
hellgatenights

burden of proof in university court proceedings is by “clear and convincing evidence”??? What possible evidence did the university court have......a video? Did the little weird former boyfriend/confidant Mr. Binky maybe tell some tall tales at the university court. If so, I look forward to his court and expulsion back to smallville.

The kangaroo court is yet another stain on the university blotter........the fun never stops at the "Em."

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Here are some other details that emerged the reporter chose not to print in this article....Maybe I'm just picking and chosing but I can do that. I'm not what is supposed to be an unbiased reporter.

................
The alleged victims family did not support her in the courtroom. Paoli: "Didn't you tell your mother to get on your side or you wouldn't have anything to do with her?"...... Alleged victim: "Yes"

.................
The prosecutions expert witness does an evaluation and or testing (on the alleged victim and quite often the accused) in up to 95% of the cases he is involved in yet the state did not request he do a personal evaluation here. Pabst: "When did you do the testing on Ms Doe?".... Dr: "Who is Ms. Doe?"

..................
Examining nurse continued some type of relationship with Doe after examination and exchanged many texts not related to examination. Francoeur (examining nurse) expresses to accuser "wahoo, one step in the right direction for mankind." After firings. (of Phlugrad and O'Day) while attending conference on domestic violence. Says everyone is celebrating at conference.

..............
Expert says Does unusual behavior could also be after consensual sex as does examining nurse when referring to any "injuries" found on Doe. When any marks found were caused is unclear. Paoli: Couldn't such lacerations be there one week, two weeks before? Nurse: Yes.

.................
Alleged victim does not tell Nurse filing report/conducting exam that she was "gyrating" on top of Johnson, enjoying much of the sexual activity or about removing his clothes among other details.

...........
Francouer (examining nurse) recommended Doe to the Atlanta law firm who is connected with the Carroll College suicide. (This firm is known to specialize in similar cases for money) Francouer told Doe to go to the firm's website and check out the news with their other cases.

...............
Paoli: Did you suggest the woman should drop the lawyer's name in future dealings? Nurse: "Yes." Paoli: And you did the winky emoticon? Nurse: It's possible

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

These are several of the gigantic red flags that keep popping up for me in this case...I understand being supportive of a victim of sexual assault...I do not understand taking joy in the firing of people who really had nothing to do with the alleged act. That tells me alot about what these folks were filling her brain with when she finally did decide to report...which was quite a while after the incident and I think to see if Johnson would come around and want a romantic relationship...freaking out when she saw him walking across campus is interesting...but not convincing..if it was that bad she should have reported it within the first week or so it seems to me....something strange there...

MTminded
MTminded

Considering the time line, there were several rape accusations related to the U of M and U of M athletics when the nurse and the alleged victim were communicating. It is not unreasonable to see the Grizzlies' football coach and AD firings as cathartic to those seeking scapegoats.

There are plenty of rapes that go unreported. There are also plenty of rapes that are reported some time after the event. It has to be a difficult situation in which to determine how to act.

One telling factor for me is the alleged victims text to her roommate, "I think I've just been raped". Moments after the alleged event and she has little idea of how she needs to react, which seems totally rational to me.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Many moe suprising and significant details (much more important to the case) were also revealed the first week of trial. It is very interesting this reporter chose to ignore them. Good thing she described the High School as "tiny." That was certainly a very important piece of information. It would have been different if it was medium sized. *rolls eyes*

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