Review panel upholds former UM football player's rape sentence

2013-07-17T07:00:00Z 2013-07-18T00:10:41Z Review panel upholds former UM football player's rape sentenceBy KATHRYN HAAKE Missoulian The Billings Gazette
July 17, 2013 7:00 am  • 

MISSOULA — A Montana Supreme Court review panel has upheld the prison sentence of a former University of Montana football player who is currently serving time in the Montana State Prison for raping a childhood friend while she slept.

Beau Donaldson pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent last year and was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with 20 years suspended, in January.

The former Griz running back and his attorney, Milton Datsopoulos, requested a review of that sentence in May, hoping to lessen the former athlete’s prison time to 25 years suspended – with the remaining five years to be served in a Department of Corrections treatment program.

But the panel decided to uphold the sentence imposed by Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend.

Datsopoulus was not available to comment on the panel’s decision.

County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who prosecuted Donaldson, said he wasn’t surprised the panel stood behind Townsend’s decision.

“I thought it was the right decision and the only decision the review panel could make,” Van Valkenburg said in a phone interview with the Missoulian on Tuesday.

Van Valkenburg explained that each sentence can be reviewed once by the review panel made up of district court judges, but the judges uphold the initial sentence about 85 percent of the time.

“Donaldson has no more shots to go,” Van Valkenburg confirmed.

Donaldson will be eligible for parole after 2 1/2 years in prison if he serves that time without incident, Townsend said at January’s sentencing.

Donaldson’s attorney originally asked for a three-year Department of Corrections sentence, preferably in community treatment, but revised the request to five years before Townsend sentenced him.

Reporter Kate Haake can be reached at 523-5268 or at kate.haake@missoulian.com.

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