Video of Johnson's interview with detectives played at rape trial

2013-02-21T15:02:00Z 2013-03-19T20:15:50Z Video of Johnson's interview with detectives played at rape trialBY GWEN FLORIO Missoulian The Billings Gazette
February 21, 2013 3:02 pm  • 

MISSOULA — Jordan Johnson told Missoula police detectives who interviewed the former University of Montana Grizzlies quarterback after he was accused of rape that he’s not the kind of person who would do something like that.

“You could look at my track record, look what I’ve done,” said Johnson, in a videotape of the interview shown Thursday to jurors in Missoula County District Court, where Johnson is on trial for sexual intercourse without consent.

“Why would I ever do something like this? I wouldn’t,” said Johnson, who in the same interview described himself as “humble, quiet, determined — I’d do anything you told me to do.”

Johnson said he had consensual sex with the woman on Feb. 4, 2012, after texting her earlier in the day and suggesting that they get together. The two were watching a movie at her house late that night when the incident occurred.

The woman testified earlier in the trial that she and Johnson began making out on her bed and took each other’s shirts off as they watched the movie. She testified that while he stopped after the first time she told him no, he ignored subsequent refusals.

Johnson told a different story, saying the two eventually fully disrobed and began to have sex. “She liked it,” he said. “She was moaning.”

Far from repeatedly saying no, he said her only words to him were a giggly, “Oh, you’re bad.” That occurred, he said, “when I turned her over — well, we changed positions.”

According to Johnson, those words were nearly the only ones she said to him from the moment they started kissing until she dropped him back off at his house. As soon as the sex was over, he said, the woman dressed as he cleaned himself up, and then he got dressed, too.

“Nothing felt weird,” he said. “Everything was fine.”

When he returned from the bathroom, the woman told him she’d gotten a text from a friend asking for a ride home from the Foresters’ Ball, so she took Johnson home — again, without conversation — and they never spoke again.

Johnson said in the interview that he was so quiet afterward because he was feeling guilty about having sex with one girl while being involved with another, even though he said in response to a question that he had an open relationship with that girl. As to why the woman didn’t talk that night, he refused to speculate.

“Looking back on it, I wish I’d have handled it differently,” said Johnson. “… I feel bad her feelings have been hurt like this, given that it didn’t happen the way she says it did.”

Later he said that “I admit I’m not a good person … but there’s a big difference between having sex with someone and raping someone. … I could never do that.”

The video was played during a break in testimony by Missoula Police Detective Connie Brueckner, who along with Detective Dean Chrestenson conducted the interview. Johnson’s attorney, Kirsten Pabst, was present during the interview.

In court Thursday afternoon, Brueckner also showed jurors the physical evidence in the case, under questioning by Assistant Attorney General Joel Thompson. At one point, they held up a blanket that had covered the woman’s bed during the night in question, pointing out stains that might have been related to sexual activity.

Brueckner’s testimony continues Friday.


Earlier in the day,a UM counselor testified the woman was mistaken when she thought the counselor told her Johnson had assaulted other women.

Drew Colling said that when she told the alleged victim in their initial counseling session that she was not alone, she was referring to the statistic that one in four women are sexually assaulted.

Colling, now the interim director of UM’s Student Assault Resource Center, treated the woman for several months last year when Colling worked at the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services center.

When defense attorney David Paoli continued his cross-examination of Colling on Thursday morning, he reviewed a text message that the woman sent on March 21, 2012 — the day of her first counseling session with Colling — saying the counselor told her Johnson had assaulted several girls.

“You did not tell her those things, did you?” Paoli asked.

“No,” Colling replied.

Paoli also hammered at discrepancies in pretrial interviews with Colling as to when those remarks occurred — during that first counseling session or one a week later.

Colling admitted her responses had been inconsistent, but said that’s because she’d felt “bullied” in her initial interview with Paoli — and not just during interviews.

She testified that “you repeatedly called my staff and wouldn’t leave a name or number, and they were concerned somebody was stalking me, and you frightened my staff,” she said.

Paoli also pressed her about when and whether she and the woman had discussed the woman’s purported desire to press the case against Johnson on behalf of other women.

“My only response was I do not remember that,” the woman said, describing that initial defense interview, “then you pressured me and I said, ‘Yeah.’ ”

“Now that you’ve met with prosecution teams several times, you want to go back on your testimony, is that fair?” Paoli asked at the end of his cross-examination.

“No,” said Colling.

Paoli also showed Colling photos from a Halloween party that the woman posted on Facebook, and asked her about the woman coming back to Missoula over the summer to celebrate her birthday with her college friends.

That would seem to contradict Colling’s own testimony that the woman had isolated herself after the incident, he asked, wouldn’t it?

Such isolation is one of the criteria of PTSD, Colling had earlier agreed after Paoli went over criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Colling responded that she encouraged the woman to resume normal social activity as part of her recovery process. Under redirect from Assistant Attorney General Joel Thompson, she said that things like birthday parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas with family, and outings with friends would not negate a PTSD diagnosis.

“People with PTSD, they go on living,” she said.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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