Woman claims sexual assault by Griz quarterback; court issues restraining order

2012-03-16T10:23:00Z 2012-08-08T19:42:15Z Woman claims sexual assault by Griz quarterback; court issues restraining orderBy GWEN FLORIO Missoulian The Billings Gazette
March 16, 2012 10:23 am  • 

MISSOULA — University of Montana Grizzlies starting quarterback Jordan Johnson is to appear in court next week to counter a temporary restraining order granted to a woman who says he sexually assaulted her.

“We deny the allegation,” David Paoli, Johnson’s attorney, said Friday. No charges against Johnson have been filed, according to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office.

Johnson and the woman are acquaintances, Paoli said. The alleged incident happened last month. Johnson did not return calls for comment.

Paoli said he’s had no communication with UM about the order. “I’m dealing with my client on that, not the university,” he said.

UM vice president Jim Foley said that neither he, nor president Royce Engstrom, nor athletic director Jim O’Day knew about the restraining order until Thursday evening.

“With regard to practice and his being on the team, we’ll decide on those actions over the course of the next couple of days,” Foley said Friday.

He said he’s spoken with Engstrom and with Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir about the details of the allegation.

The order filed March 9 states that Johnson must not threaten or harass the woman, and must stay at least 1,500 feet away from her and her home. The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office presented it Monday to Paoli, according to court records.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in Missoula Municipal Court on whether to continue the restraining order against Johnson. Paoli, a former Griz player and member of the National Advisory Board for Grizzly Athletics, said he expects testimony from both sides.

The university is under intense scrutiny for the way it handles sexual assault cases. In December, it appointed former Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz to review the issue after allegations that two students were drugged and gang-raped by several male students that month. Barz’s report, filed in January, focused on nine alleged sexual assaults between September 2010 and December 2011.

Another UM football player, Beau Donaldson, was charged with sexual intercourse without consent in connection with one of the cases cited in Barz’s investigation.

In response to the Barz report, Engstrom has asked administrators “for a change in standards and expectations, particularly around our athletic program. I have received from the athletic program a new student athlete code. Essentially, it’s more rigorous, with a separate body who will do the disciplining of a student who finds him or herself violating the code.”

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