Physician to Johnson jury: No evidence of non-consensual sex

2013-02-22T11:57:00Z 2014-08-25T07:47:35Z Physician to Johnson jury: No evidence of non-consensual sexGWEN FLORIO Missoulian The Billings Gazette
February 22, 2013 11:57 am  • 

MISSOULA — An expert witness testifying for the defense Friday in the Jordan Johnson rape trial told jurors that, after reviewing records in the case, he found "no medical evidence the intercourse they had that night was non-consensual."

Although the prosecution has not finished presenting its case, Dr. Ted Harriton of Tucson, Ariz., was allowed to testify Friday because he had flown to Montana especially to testify.

Harriton, who identified himself as a forensic gynecologist, said he charges $375 an hour for his work.

His testimony interrupted that of prosecution witness Detective Connie Brueckner of the Missoula Police Department.

Hers will resume when Harriton and one other expert witness for the defense complete their testimony.

Johnson, a former University of Montana Grizzlies quarterback, is charged with sexual intercourse without consent in connection with a Feb. 4, 2012, incident as he and a fellow UM student watched a movie at her home. He maintains the sex that night was consensual.

Harriton said he no longer sees patients.

"All I do now is play golf a few times a week and do this" -- that is, consult on cases. He testified under questioning by defense attorney David Paoli that he'd reviewed the woman's records from her exam on Feb. 5, 2012, at the First Step center for sexual assault victims, the woman's own accounts of the incident, transcripts of interviews with a First Step nurse and her supervisor, and police interviews in the case.

He said he found that the exam performed by First Step nurse Claire Francoeur was "below the standard of care." But his detailed testimony as to how he reached that decision was closed to the public, as it involved showing intimate photos and video taken during that exam.

Earlier Friday, jurors heard a barely audible section of a videotaped police interview with Johnson and detectives Brueckner and Dean Chrestenson.

Johnson's defense attorney Kirsten Pabst was present during that interview.

During that portion of the interview, Johnson broke down crying when Chrestenson explained that a rape charge could ruin Johnson's plans to teach math and coach football.

"I don't care about that. I just want to be a normal kid again. ... I don't care about football," Johnson said.

Because jurors had difficulty hearing the tape, it will be played again later Friday.

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