Former Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson, 21, was acquitted of rape charges on Friday in a trial that riveted the city of Missoula.
Johnson, an Oregon native, maintained throughout the trial that he had consensual sex with another student on February 4, 2012.
The woman claimed that the star football player forced her to have sex with him after they kissed and took their shirts off, reports The New York Times. The woman stated on the witness stand:
“He just changed — changed into a totally different person.”
But Johnson maintained his innocence. He asserted, “If somebody says no, you stop. You respect that.” The day after the alleged rape, the woman went to the university’s Student Assault Resource Center and underwent a medical exam.
Kirstin Pabst, one of Johnson’s defense lawyers, stated that the unnamed victim wanted to date the former quarterback. But once she realized Johnson just wanted sex, she turned on him. Pabst added:
“The fact that he didn’t give her a relationship does not make what happened that night a crime.”
USA Today notes that the accusations against Jordan Johnson attracted wide attention in Montana, because of Johnson’s time as quarterback on the University of Montana football team. He led the team to a successful 2011 season before he was accused of assault.
Witnesses in the case testified that the woman was shaking and pale and that she cried after she drove Johnson back to his house. However, Johnson told jurors that the sex was consensual. Johnson’s defense asserted that the woman was upset because Johnson would not date her.
Johnson testified that the woman asked him if he had a condom. When he said that he didn’t, she told him it was okay. He added that she never said, “no.”
The former Montana quarterback hugged his attorneys and cried after the verdict was read. His family also celebrated. If he had been found guilty of rape, Jordan Johnson would have faced up to 100 years in prison.