BOZEMAN (AP) - A Montana State University football coach who is charged with breaking a woman's arm should be suspended until his trial and fired if he is convicted of the assault, a women's group says.
The university should have already suspended assistant coach John Rushing, the president of the Bozeman Business and Professional Women said Thursday in a letter to MSU President Geoffrey Gamble.
"The university's decision to dismiss this serious allegation against someone placed in a leadership position is cavalier at best, and morally reprehensible at worst," BPW President Darlene Siedschlaw wrote.
"We respectfully urge you, Dr. Gamble, to rectify this situation, by suspending Mr. Rushing immediately until his court date, and terminating his employment if Mr. Rushing is found guilty."
MSU Vice President Allen Yarnell said Thursday the university weighs employee suspensions on a case-by-case basis.
"Montana State University, as an institution, is very sensitive to issues concerning violence against women," Yarnell said, adding that the university has a victim assistance center and students who work at the battered women's shelter.
Rushing would not comment and referred questions to his attorney, Herman Watson III. Neither Rushing nor Watson knew about the Bozeman BPW letter, but Watson said BPW members should read the U.S. Constitution and "be aware of this country's presumption of innocence."
Rushing pleaded innocent Thursday to misdemeanor charges of assault and criminal trespass. Municipal Court Judge Patricia Carlson set trial for Oct. 30 or Nov. 2 and allowed Rushing, 29, to remain free on a $500 bond.
Rushing allegedly was arguing with a former girlfriend at the injured woman's apartment on April 1 when the woman tried to intervene. He allegedly grabbed her by her shoulders and threw her about six feet, and her right forearm was broken on impact.