Jordan Johnson to jurors: She never said no

2013-02-27T08:49:00Z 2013-03-19T20:15:50Z Jordan Johnson to jurors: She never said noBy GWEN FLORIO Missoulian The Billings Gazette
February 27, 2013 8:49 am  • 

MISSOULA — The woman who accused former University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson of raping her never said no the first and only time they had sex, Johnson testified Wednesday.

“If somebody says no, you stop. You respect that,” Johnson said.

Johnson is charged with sexual intercourse without consent in connection with a Feb. 4, 2012, incident as he watched a movie at a fellow UM student’s home. Their sex that night was consensual, he said.

As for the woman’s contention that he raped her, he said, “I would never do that to anyone.”

Johnson testified calmly Wednesday under both direct and cross-examination, but began to cry when his father, Martin — a math teacher and football coach in Sheldon, Ore. — took the stand. He wiped his eyes with a tissue, then put his head down on his arms as his father praised him.

“I can say with my right hand to God I haven’t been around a more honest young man than Jordan,” said Martin Johnson, adding he felt lucky to have him as a son.

Since finding out a year ago that his son had been accused of rape, he’s awoken each day feeling “suffocated,” Martin Johnson said.

The emotionally wrenching trial is nearly over. Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend told the seven-woman, five-man jury Wednesday that a single defense witness will testify Thursday, with the presentation of evidence to wind up at about 2 p.m. Jurors will hear closing arguments at 9 a.m. Friday, then will receive their instructions from Townsend before starting deliberations.

No defendant is required to testify in a criminal trial. But Johnson said he took the stand because “I want people to know what happened.”

Johnson told jurors that he texted the woman on a Saturday afternoon after running into her the previous night at the Foresters’ Ball at UM. The two agreed to watch a movie that night at her house, and she came to pick him up because he’d had a few beers — four or five in about four hours, he estimated.

Johnson said that when he went to the woman’s home, he thought sex was a possibility. But, he said, “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Under questioning by defense attorney Kirsten Pabst, he described a sexual encounter that began with some kissing about 20 minutes into the movie, and that quickly progressed to about five minutes of sex in two different positions.

The entire encounter was nearly wordless, he said, other than a brief discussion of a condom — he said she asked if he had one and, when told no, she said, “That’s OK” — and then the woman saying “ ‘Oh, you’re bad’ in kind of a giggly tone” when they switched to a different position.

“At what point did she say no?” asked Pabst.

“She never said no,” Johnson replied.

Prosecuting attorney Adam Duerk cross-examined Johnson about the differences between his account and that of the woman, who testified earlier in the trial.

The woman said that Johnson stopped the first time she said no, but ignored later protests, and frightened her by becoming aggressive.

“You deny you ever said, ‘Turn over or I’ll make you,’ ” Duerk said.

“I never said that,” Johnson said.

“You would agree that if you said something like that, that would indicate you knew you didn’t have her consent, correct?”

“Yes.”

Under Montana law, a person is guilty of sexual intercourse without consent if the sex was nonconsensual, and the defendant knew there was no consent. Physical resistance is not required.

Duerk’s cross-examination also focused on the text the woman sent her roommate immediately after the incident, while Johnson was in the bathroom: “Omg ... I think I might have just gotten raped ... he kept pushing and pushing and I said no but he just wouldn’t listen ... I just wanna cry ... omg what do I do?”

“You would agree that something is clearly wrong when someone sends a text message indicating they’ve just been raped?” Duerk asked.

“I don’ t know.”

“That seems normal to you?”

“That does not seem normal.”

Pabst questioned Johnson one last time: “It is your testimony that everything she did and said indicated she was willing to have sex with you that night?”

“Yes.”

Johnson’s father testified about a son so “quiet … extremely humble ... and very, very respectful” that the rape accusation floored him.

His son, he said, had never been in trouble, never done anything to hurt anyone. I was shocked beyond belief. … There’s not a parenting guideline that tells you what to do” in such situations.

He said the past 13 months have had a huge effect on his son and the entire family. “Short of losing a child, I can’t imagine a worse accusation,” he said.

As Martin Johnson left the stand and passed the defense table, he briefly put his hand on his son’s shoulder. Father and son hugged tightly during the next courtroom break after Martin Johnson’s testimony.

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