MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Jurors have reached a verdict in the rape trial of a former University of Montana quarterback that has played out amid NCAA and federal investigations into how the school and the city of Missoula respond to rape allegations on campus.
The case against 20-year-old Jordan Johnson has drawn much attention in Montana, where UM football is the top sports attraction. Jurors got the case Friday and deliberated for less than two hours.
Johnson led the University of Montana to a successful 2011 season as starting quarterback before being accused of assaulting a woman as they watched a movie together at her home last February.
The woman testified that she and Johnson were kissing when his demeanor changed and he held her down and raped her, despite her protests.
Johnson maintains the sex was consensual.
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Prosecutors in the rape trial of former University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson said Friday it was not a case of "he said-she said," or one of an insensitive lover, but one of a defendant who would not take "no" for an answer.
District Judge Karen Townsend handed over the case to the jury after closing arguments and declared the court in recess until jurors return a verdict on the charge of sexual intercourse without consent.
The accuser "has had to crawl through a proverbial tunnel of sewage" to see the case through to trial because she wants accountability, Assistant Attorney General Joel Thompson told jurors. He said the alleged rape was a malicious assault that resulted in psychological damage.
Both Johnson and his accuser testified that they kissed and had removed some of their clothing while watching a movie at her residence on Feb. 4, 2012. The woman said at some point, Johnson's demeanor changed and he held her down and raped her as she tried to push him away.
Witnesses testified that she was pale and shaking, and that she cried uncontrollably after driving Johnson back to his house. She had an immediate reaction to what happened, Thompson said.
Defense attorney David Paoli argued that the woman's story changed several times while Johnson's statement that the sex was consensual was consistent. Johnson testified that the woman asked him if he had a condom and when he said he didn't, she told him that was OK. He said she never said "no" and he would have stopped if she had.
The defense has argued the woman became upset and sought vengeance after Johnson got up without any cuddling and didn't talk to her other than to say, "Well, thanks," when she dropped him off at his house.
At one point, Paoli placed a life-size outline of a woman on the courtroom floor and climbed on top of it, trying to demonstrate that the alleged assault couldn't have happened the way the woman said it did.
"This courtroom is full of doubt," Paoli said, then asked jurors if they believed the woman "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The closing arguments took place in a standing-room-only courtroom. Montana football players, coach Mick Delaney and former athletic director Jim O'Day were among those in attendance.
Johnson's case has played out against a backdrop of NCAA and federal investigations of the university's athletic department and a Justice Department investigation into the manner in which rape allegations are handled on campus, investigated by police and prosecuted by the Missoula County attorney's office.
The defense suggested the pressure of the Justice Department investigation led the county attorney's office to pursue the charges against Johnson.