Prosecutor: Only way Donaldson will avoid rape trial is by pleading guilty

2012-04-25T22:00:00Z 2013-01-11T16:59:42Z Prosecutor: Only way Donaldson will avoid rape trial is by pleading guiltyBy GWEN FLORIO of the Missoulian missoulian.com
April 25, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

If University of Montana Grizzlies football player Beau Donaldson wants to avoid a rape trial, he’ll have to plead guilty, Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said Wednesday.

“From the County Attorney’s Office perspective, the only way the Beau Donaldson case is not going to trial is if the defendant pleads guilty to the offense he is charged with committing – sexual intercourse without consent,” Van Valkenburg said.

Donaldson, 22, appeared at a pretrial conference Tuesday in Missoula County District Court. During that conference, his attorney, Milt Datsopoulos, said that he’s had “multiple conferences” with Deputy Missoula County Attorney Shaun Donovan and expects to have more. “We’re discussing a potential resolution short of a trial,” he said.

Donaldson faces a single charge of sexual intercourse without consent. He admitted in a monitored telephone conversation in December that he assaulted a woman sleeping at his house in September 2010, according to charging documents in the case.

The accusation came to light in December, after UM announced a high-profile investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving students.

Although the woman called her mother and went to First Step for treatment immediately after the alleged incident, she did not initially report it to police, the court papers said.

According to the affidavit that Donovan filed in the case, Donaldson came to the woman’s house the day after the alleged incident. “After initially denying the act, he became emotional, admitted the accusation and apologized,” the affidavit states.

At the request of both prosecution and defense attorneys, Judge Karen Townsend set a trial date of Sept. 26.

Conviction on the charge carries a maximum sentence of 100 years or life in prison, and/or a $50,000 fine.

Donaldson, a running back who was suspended indefinitely from the team after his arrest, remains free on $50,000 bond.

Datsopoulos said Tuesday he anticipates filing a motion to modify some of the conditions of Donaldson’s release, but did not give specifics.

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

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