MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson with raping an acquaintance in February after she invited him to her room to watch a movie.
Missoula County Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney Suzy Boylan filed documents in state court late Tuesday afternoon asking a judge to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed with a charge of sexual intercourse without consent against Johnson. A judge then determined it appeared there was probable cause.
Johnson was a standout star at Sheldon High School in Eugene.
Johnson has previously denied the allegation. Attorney David Paoli released a statement Tuesday that said Johnson and his family "are surprised and saddened" by the timing of the criminal charge, since the encounter took place in February and police have been aware of the allegation since the woman, another student, filed a report six weeks later.
"Jordan strongly maintains his innocence and looks forward to the opportunity to prove his innocence at trial, clear his name and return to pursuing his education," Paoli said in the statement.
University President Royce Engstrom said that given the charges, Johnson has been suspended from football team activities, as called for by the student athlete conduct code.
It's the latest turn in a sexual assault scandal at the university that has prompted three investigations by federal governmental agencies and the NCAA. The Department of Justice and Department of Education are investigating how the university and city officials responded to reports of sexual assault on campus and in Missoula.
Johnson led the Grizzlies to an 11-3 record in 2011 and a share of the Big Sky Conference Title. Montana lost in the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Johnson is due in court Aug. 14.