Trial

Prosecution, defense detail cases in Johnson rape trial; woman briefly testifies

2013-02-11T19:15:00Z 2014-10-03T14:28:32Z Prosecution, defense detail cases in Johnson rape trial; woman briefly testifies missoulian.com

She said no, again and again, both in words and by pushing him away.

“This case is about a young woman who was horribly betrayed by someone she trusted,” said prosecuting attorney Adam Duerk in his opening statement Monday in the rape trial of former University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson.

She was hurt because there was “no discussion of whether she was satisfied, no cuddling” after they had sex.

“This is a case that is not about rape, but about a girl’s regret amidst a brewing storm,” said defense attorney Kirsten Pabst in her own opening statement.

As to the woman herself, in the short time she was on the witness stand Monday – her testimony will continue Wednesday, when the trial resumes – she said only that while she’d always found Johnson a nice, albeit quiet, guy, and that she was “intrigued” by the possibility of a relationship, she didn’t think they’d do more than some “making out” on the night of Feb. 4, 2012.

Johnson is accused of assaulting the woman, a fellow UM student, as the two watched a movie at her home that night. She went to police in March; the Missoula County Attorney’s Office filed a charge of sexual intercourse without consent against Johnson in July.

By then, the U.S. Department of Justice had launched an investigation – the “brewing storm” to which Pabst referred – into how sexual assaults were handled by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, the Missoula Police Department and the UM campus police.

Attorneys made their opening statements Monday afternoon after spending the morning finishing the process of jury selection, which began Friday with a pool of about 170 people whittled down from the initial call to 400.

Early Monday afternoon, a jury of seven women and five men was seated, along with five alternates. The unusually large number of alternates takes into account the fact that the trial could last two or three weeks.

***

Although Duerk cautioned jurors in his opening statement that the trial was not about the woman, much of both opening statements focused on her actions that night.

Both sides agree on the following:

That the evening began with a series of casual texts over the course of a few hours that culminated when she picked up Johnson at his place and drove him back to hers to watch the movie.

On the way into the house, they greeted her male roommate, who was playing a video game. (Another male roommate was in his room at the time.)

The two went into the woman’s room and watched the movie for a while. They began kissing, and took off their shirts. And that’s where the accounts diverge, at least until the point where the woman texts her roommate, “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!”

Her version, according to Duerk: Johnson got aggressive, pinned her to the bed, pulled down her leggings, and forced her into sex in two positions. “It got really scary, really fast,” Duerk said the woman reported. “The defendant said, ‘Turn over or I’ll make you.’ … She was scared, she was in shock and starting to shut down, but she said, ‘No.’ ”

His version, according to Pabst: He went to her house expecting they’d have sex. At first she said, “No, Jordy, not tonight. Later.” But then both became aroused and the woman – topless – climbed onto Johnson. When he asked about a condom, she indicated it was OK without one. And when he turned her over to continue sex, she called him, “in a flirting tone,”  bad.

“Her message to Jordan at every turn was that she was willing and she was into it,” Pabst said.

At least, until afterward. “Suddenly it seemed to her that maybe her feelings didn’t matter. Sadly, it seemed they didn’t,” Pabst said. She said the woman’s feelings seemed to have changed in the swirl of publicity surrounding Johnson’s arrest.

“Her regret was replaced by sympathy and attention and support and a little bit of drama and a little bit of celebrity,” Pabst said. “… She found a new identity: Victim.”

The woman herself will not testify about the further details of that night until the trial resumes Wednesday. Missoula County District Judge Karen Townsend’s regular court day is Tuesday, and she will keep to that schedule.

Although no defendant is required to testify in his own trial – and jurors are instructed to draw no conclusions if a defendant chooses not to – Pabst indicated at least twice Monday that Johnson eventually will take the stand during the trial.

He remains a student at the university, although he was suspended from the football team after being charged in the case.

The woman likewise is continuing her studies. The two remain under a civil no-contact agreement.

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

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(33) Comments

  1. Softballa10
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    Softballa10 - February 13, 2013 3:04 pm
    You appear to be a bitter man who is not very educated in the criminal justice system! Not only that, but you appear to hold some sort of grudge and can't seem to move past it. I know what I believe and where I stand. This trial would not be occurring if there was not enough evidence. These sort of cases occur all the time and our country has created our justice system to sort through these; yes it has flaws, but what system doesn't? Would you prefer we had no system at all and men OR women who commit crimes walk freely and can do harm to others?! Men OR women lie when they know they are in trouble and know what is at stake; look at the Casey Anthony trial, she is walking free and she murdered her own daughter! And you claim the criminal justice system does not serve equally to men?!
  2. Roger
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    Roger - February 13, 2013 7:43 am
    So you admit that no one knows what exactly what happened, except the accused and the accuser - so why is the accused put on trial and his name publicized, while his accuser remains anonymous? Why the judicial bias of a female judge who lacks the integrity to recuse herself from the case? If you are disgusted with the majority of the comments, you need to rethink your position, unless you believe that men accused of sex crimes don't deserve equal justice - which they certainly don't receive in the criminal justice system.
  3. Roger
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    Roger - February 13, 2013 7:35 am
    Exactly.
  4. Softballa10
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    Softballa10 - February 12, 2013 6:50 pm
    I am utterly disgusted with the majority of these comments! It are comments like these that women read and find it difficult to report rape because of the publicity it may receive and nasty remarks people make, such as the ones made here. Unless you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape, you have no clue, not even the nearest idea how it feels. It may have began as consensual sex, but if at any time she said no, she means no. No one knows what truly happened except for him and her, and one must be lying since the stories do not match, but we do not know who.
  5. MissouComments
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    MissouComments - February 12, 2013 5:53 pm
    The EPSN article that is referred to in this discussion is here:

    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8921202/university-montana-qb-rape-trial-begins-amid-larger-sex-assault-scandal-plaguing-missoula

    It appears to include some details that the Missoulian hasn't covered.
  6. JohnR
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    JohnR - February 12, 2013 4:55 pm
    Yup. Meant to say prosecutor. Seems tough to explain away the accuser saying she didn't think the defendant did anything wrong.

    At the very least, it's hard to explain how this is a relevant detail if you're an ESPN reporter and not a relevant detail if you're a Missoulian reporter.
  7. raptor53
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    raptor53 - February 12, 2013 4:45 pm
    only two people know the truth. only one may be telling the truth. the rest of us will not know, unless one of them decides to change their story. Conclusion, truth can not be determined beyond reason of doubt. Case should not even have advanced to this point. It's all about egos and politics.
  8. sportscaster
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    sportscaster - February 12, 2013 4:37 pm
    Using the word "victim" in the headline is wrong, wrong, wrong. "Alleged victim" or "plaintiff" would be more correct.
  9. Newsman56
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    Newsman56 - February 12, 2013 3:36 pm
    Sherry Devlin should be ashamed and embarrassed for the way she's let the reporting of this case become completely and utterly reckless. She is an angry person with a vendetta and a mockery of what an editor should be.
  10. grizcountry
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    grizcountry - February 12, 2013 3:00 pm
    Not really.. They set the guy up for failure. 20 years of probabtion is a daunting task. If he farts too loud he'll be sent to spend out the rest of his time in Deerlodge. Its a double edge sword if you ask me.
  11. judgedread
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    judgedread - February 12, 2013 1:54 pm
    It is interesting the difference in sentencing. Here is a rape case from earlier in the year;
    A Missoula man convicted of raping two 14-year-old girls when he was 21 will spend 90 days in the Missoula County jail.

    Missoula County District Court Judge John Larson sentenced Shawn Lowe, 23, on Thursday to 20 years in prison, but suspended all of that but 90 days, which he said Lowe could spent in the Missoula County Detention Facility.

    Not saying Johnson and Donaldson should get special treatment because they are football players, if they are guilty they should go to prison. BUt they should also be treated fairly.
  12. judgedread
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    judgedread - February 12, 2013 1:48 pm
    Curious how differently the football players are treated. Donaldson's sentencing was pretty harsh in comparison to this;
    A Missoula man convicted of raping two 14-year-old girls when he was 21 will spend 90 days in the Missoula County jail.

    Missoula County District Court Judge John Larson sentenced Shawn Lowe, 23, on Thursday to 20 years in prison, but suspended all of that but 90 days, which he said Lowe could spent in the Missoula County Detention Facility.

    Guessing Johnson will face the same as Donaldson. Not saying they shouldn't get many years in prison if they are guilty, just saying that Missoula's justice system is biased. The guy above raped two girls after getting them drunk, he only received 90 days in jail? Sounds sketchy to me.
  13. Greenland
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    Greenland - February 12, 2013 12:06 pm
    This whole episode is going to make an excellent "Montana Journalism Review" article: how the Missoulian went off the rails on impartial reporting: "a Montana newspaper takes sides and intentionally contaminates a jury pool."
  14. Cameo01
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    Cameo01 - February 12, 2013 11:36 am
    Battered wife syndrome is totally inapplicable in this instance. Rape is an act of violence and doesn't involve "making out" or mutual disrobing. Whatever happened, it was not a rape and should never have been charged as such.
  15. Cameo01
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    Cameo01 - February 12, 2013 11:31 am
    I think you are confused. The defendent in this case is Jordan Johnson.
  16. MommaBear
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    MommaBear - February 12, 2013 9:32 am
    Discussing the use of a condom sounds quite consensual to me. If he's guilty of anything, its simply not being a compassionate lover and living up to her expectations.
    I'm sure alot of us have been in this situation before, and felt disappointed, used, deceived, and disgusted with oneself. But that situation is not rape. Just because you wish you could go back and not engage, does not mean you were raped.
    One thing we can all probably agree on, is we will never truly know what happened. There's his version, her version, and then the truth.
  17. JohnR
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    JohnR - February 12, 2013 9:29 am
    ESPN ran a story about this on Feb. 7 that included quite a few details I never saw in the Missoulian that seem pretty damning for the defense. We'll have to see how this stuff is explained in the trail, but a few weeks after the incident, she sent a friend a text that said: "I don't think he did anything wrong to be honest."

    1) Seems like it will be hard for the defense to explain that (I assume they'll say she was feeling post-traumatic guilt), and 2) That seems like a pretty key piece of this story, but I've never once seen it reported in the Missoulian. I don't know how you can leave that out and still claim to be writing an unbiased news story.
  18. familytruckster
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    familytruckster - February 12, 2013 9:27 am
    No, the editors do not know better- they probably have risen from the rank and file and most likely they are simply gwen after a few more years on the beat.
    One of my female family members suffered a rape, so I do know something about the range of emotions and behaviors possible after such an occurence.
    I am praying that justice be served- and if that means that this girl is scorned rather than a victim, that she and all who really victimized her by making her the figurehead for this indictment of Grizzly violence be made to pay for their sins. If Johnson is not in fact a predator, his victimization is irremediable.
  19. Georgia Peach
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    Georgia Peach - February 12, 2013 9:24 am
    Well said, Bass Whacker! I couldn't agree more!
  20. Oh Please
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    Oh Please - February 12, 2013 9:14 am
    But can not become nonconsensual after the fact. That is regret.
  21. Bass Whacker
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    Bass Whacker - February 12, 2013 8:35 am
    Not after it's over.
  22. Roger
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    Roger - February 12, 2013 8:18 am
    The Missoulian also showed its anti-male bias in the story's headline, which includes the words, "victim briefly testifies". So we've got both journalistic and judicial bias in favor of the accuser and against the accused. I guess we have to hope for an unbiased jury, but clearly the deck is stacked against the person on trial in this case.
  23. Pistol
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    Pistol - February 12, 2013 8:02 am
    When did she text her roommate? The way the article is written they had sex then she realized she had been raped then texted her roommate. What was Johnson doing? Laying there next to her while she texted ? You would think her roommate would be coming into the room or beating on the door, after receiving the text. Or he/ they would comfront Johnson when they came out of the room. No way would they allow her to drive him home. Or more interesting why would she? If she was in shock how did she think about texting ? This should be interesting trial. Let's hope that truth prevails for all the people affected. It's to bad Engstrom convicted Johnson, because that led to the firing of Pflugrad, and O'Day.It's pretty obvious that two days after Pflugrad's comments about Johnson's character the firings occured.
  24. Roger
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    Roger - February 12, 2013 8:00 am
    This case illustrates one reason that men receive significantly more severe sentences than women for the same crimes - anti-male bias. For example, the accuser in sexual assault cases remains anonymous, while the accused gets his name dragged through the news. Then, in this case, the female judge mandates that the accuser be referred to as "the victim" - which indicates judicial bias and could prejudice jurors, flaunts the legal principle of presumption of innocence, and denies equal justice for the accused. This case and this trial is a shameful example of anti-male bias.
  25. RPT
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    RPT - February 12, 2013 6:25 am
    I’ve had absolutely no experience whatsoever with rape but is it normal for the victim and the rapist to have a conversation about using a condom?...If in fact that conversation took place it all seems and sounds very civil and consensual to me....And while not spooning after consensual sex may earn you a reputation of being a lousy lover and just plain rude there’s no way it then becomes an act of rape.... He said / she said... The verdict on this one is going to be interesting either way.
  26. Georgia Peach
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    Georgia Peach - February 11, 2013 11:09 pm
    I find the total disregard for journalistic ethics and the lack of integrity displayed by this story to be appalling. Any lingering doubts in anyone's mind about Gwen Florio's lack of ability to report on this story with professionalism or objectivity should be completely swept away by this story's biased lead. Maybe Gwen doesn't know any better, but her editors certainly should. Has everyone on the editorial staff at this paper completely lost their minds? I can't help but wonder, was Gwen once a victim of sexual assault herself?
  27. Newsman56
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    Newsman56 - February 11, 2013 10:32 pm
    Is that lead real? You can't be serious. I hope this trial plays out as the trial of a man presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty. Because with leads like that and the general reporting thus far of this case, combined with the profound political pressure on the Missoula District Attorney's office with the U.S. Department of Justice in town, Jordan Johnson has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.
  28. montanamuralist
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    montanamuralist - February 11, 2013 9:11 pm
    I dont think I am in anything much less in a loop fool. I do have common sense. If I am on the jury and charged with findings under Montana law for sexual assault I want to hear a doctors report. I want to hear why she did not seek the aid of TWO MALE ROOMMATES!!!!! Then she drives him home??? After he forced himself on her after she sent a text? Maybe but how dumb can you be to give your attacker a ride home and then wait weeks to report it. I think Pabst hit the nail on the head with the "regret". Sorry something stinks here and you don't have to be in any loop to see that. I know the women will jump all over me but they also are the ones who pushed for sexual assault training at the U that states that women who say they are attacked are always telling the truth........right...that is easy to debunk on the internet..the heck with being a psychologist. No, something stinks here...I want to hear from the roommates for one thing if I am on the jury...
  29. Bandit218
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    Bandit218 - February 11, 2013 7:27 pm
    Have you been raped before montananaturalist? You have a degree and experience in psychology dealing with victims of rape? Do battered wives say get the hell out? Yes they do and then go running back to that person who just punched them in the mouth. So don't assume that driving a person who just raped you home is inconceivable. Wait for the trial to do its thing. You might like to think you're in the loop but unless you're one if Johnson's lawyers your not.
  30. UMalumnus
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    UMalumnus - February 11, 2013 6:53 pm
    Don't forget. It may say AP but it was a local AP reporter (IE someone from the Missoulian) who actually penned this story. Not saying who but we all have a pretty good idea.
  31. MTBizeeBee
    Report Abuse
    MTBizeeBee - February 11, 2013 6:49 pm
    If the Montana football program isn't on trial, what is the point of the lead photo being of Jordy in a Griz uniform throwing a ball? Pretty obvious this rag of a newspaper wants to make sure the two continue to be closely associated with one another.
  32. Ejace
    Report Abuse
    Ejace - February 11, 2013 6:07 pm
    Consensual can become nonconsensual at any point.
  33. montanamuralist
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    montanamuralist - February 11, 2013 4:44 pm
    Great reporting ( NOT!!!!!) All the other rape allegations are just that...allegations, except for Donaldson. To include them in a story about Johnson is ridiculous and skewed in my opinion. I understand it is recounting history here but all this is damaging to Johnson if he is being falsely accused...and we learned from the defense in their opening statement today that the alleged victim acknowledged after the fact that the incident was her fault...that is also a common feeling for a victim but defense says they have other evidence about the victims behavior and the ride home is very disturbing...if you are a victim..how about telling him to get the H out of your house and calling the police????????" Thanks for including all that in the opening statement by the defense in this story. Oh sorry might not fit your agenda...hacks.
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