Woman recounts alleged rape by Jordan Johnson

2013-02-13T14:20:00Z 2013-03-19T20:15:52Z Woman recounts alleged rape by Jordan JohnsonBy GWEN FLORIO Missoulian The Billings Gazette
February 13, 2013 2:20 pm  • 

MISSOULA — The woman who says former University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson raped her a year ago testified Wednesday that she enjoyed making out with Johnson that night — up to a point.

In response to questions from the prosecution and defense, she repeated a now-familiar narrative about how the two watched a movie in her home on Feb. 4, 2012, while her roommate played a video game in the living room.

They lay on her bed. Kissed. Rubbed up against each other. Took each other’s shirts off.

But when Johnson pushed for more, she testified under questioning by Assistant Attorney General Joel Thompson, “I gave him very clear instructions. I told him, ‘No, not tonight.’ I resisted with my arms, resisted with my knees. ... I told him no.”

On cross-examination by defense attorney David Paoli, however, she also testified about a statement she wrote four days after the incident in which she worried that, among other things, “maybe it was the clothes I was wearing or us making out or taking off my shirt. … I should have screamed out to my roommate in the living room or used more force against him.”

To convict Johnson of the charge of sexual intercourse without consent that faces him, the seven-woman, five-man jury must find that the sex between the two that night was not consensual — and that Johnson, 20, knew it was nonconsensual. Physical resistance is not required.

Wednesday’s testimony was marked by a late-in-the-day allegation that Johnson had assaulted other women and by the appearance in the courtroom’s spectator section of Grizzlies football coach Mick Delaney and former athletic director Jim O’Day.

O’Day lost his job just days after Johnson returned to spring drills last year when a restraining order filed against him by the woman was lifted. O’Day’s son — the woman gave him a ride home from the Missoula Club shortly after the incident with Johnson — is listed as one of the witnesses in the case.

The woman testified in response to questions from Thompson that Johnson complied after the first time she told him to stop.

They watched the movie again for a while and then, she testified, Johnson rolled on top of her and started kissing her again. “I just said, ‘No, not tonight. I don’t want any of this,’ because I figured that’s what he was trying to do. He was trying to have sex.”

“Did he stop at this point?” Thompson asked.

“No.”

Johnson pinned her to the bed with his left arm across her chest, she said. With his right, he pulled her leggings and underwear down to her ankles, she said.

“I tried holding my legs together. I tried pushing on his elbows by grabbing under them,” she testified.

But, she said, “He didn’t say anything. He just changed — just changed into a totally different person.”

Then, she said, he told her to turn over.

“I said, ‘What? No,’” said the woman, who said she’d been lying on her back. “He said, ‘Turn over or I’ll make you.’”

When she didn’t, he flipped her over and raped her, she said. “It hurt so bad, it hurt so bad,” she testified tearfully.

“Was any of that sexual contact consensual in any way?” Thompson asked.

“No.”

Thompson also asked a number of questions about her failure to call out to her roommate, who was playing a video game in the living room, and about the fact that she drove Johnson home afterward.

“You could have screamed for help,” Thompson said.

“Could have,” she agreed.

“You didn’t,” he said.

“I didn’t. There’s no real explanation other than I was terrified and in shock. You know how when you have those dreams and you want to scream so bad, but you can’t? It was like that.”

“You understand that people view your actions that night as odd?” Thompson asked.

“I do.”

“Have you ever been that afraid in your life?”

“No.”

Thompson’s questions also dwelled on a text message the woman sent her roommate while she was still in the bedroom and Johnson had gone to the bathroom: “Omg ... I think I might have just gotten raped.”

“You could have called police,” Thompson said.

“Could have.”

“But you chose to text your roommate.”

“Yes.”

And that text, Thompson reminded her, said, “You ‘think’ you just got raped. Does that mean you’re not sure?”

She replied that, “I was definitely sure that I got raped ... (but) no one wants to believe that happened to them.”

Paoli posed similar questions in the cross-examination — “You’re not restrained are you? You could have gotten off the bed? You could have called for” the roommate — with the woman answering affirmatively in every case.

Likewise with the text message: “You didn’t know for sure?” Paoli asked.

“I did know for sure,” she said.

Toward the end of the day Wednesday, the woman also testified during a spirited exchange with Paoli that she’d learned of other assaults against women by Johnson, information she texted to her father and a friend.

“In that text message you claimed there were other girls, and there’s no basis for that claim, correct?” Paoli asked.

“I believe there’s a basis,” the woman said.

The woman testified that she originally got that information from a counselor she saw in March. Wasn’t it true, Paoli fired back, that the counselor disavowed that statement in September?

“She said it was a misunderstanding,” the woman replied, adding that information about other alleged assaults also was developed in part on her own.

And, in an exchange marked by vigorous objections from the prosecution — nearly all of them sustained by Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend — the woman testified that she’d briefly contacted an Atlanta law firm specializing in civil cases involving crime victims. She did so, she said, on the advice of a nurse at the First Step center for victims of sexual assault.

“Have you engaged the services of an Atlanta law firm?” Paoli asked.

“No.”

“Are you planning on filing a lawsuit against Jordan Johnson?”

“No.”

“Are you planning on filing a lawsuit against the University of Montana?”

“No.”

“Are you planning on filing a lawsuit against the Grizzly football team?”

“No.”

The trial resumes Thursday in Missoula County District Court and is expected to last between two and three weeks.

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