Agreement with Accuser Puts UM’s Johnson Back on Field

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson has returned to the practice field after attorneys for Johnson and the woman who accuses him of sexual assault reached a civil agreement that dissolves the temporary restraining order against him.

The restraining order was dismissed on Friday after the civil agreement was put in place that mandates the starting quarterback avoid contact with the woman, stays 1,500 feet away from her and does not expire.

“From our perspective, this achieves everything the order of protection achieved,” said Josh Van de Wetering, an attorney for the woman.

A Missoula Municipal Court judge granted the order on March 9 after the woman alleged that Johnson sexually assaulted her. No charges have been filed.

Johnson’s attorney has denied the allegation. David Paoli said the agreement was reached after his firm began investigating the allegation in preparation for a hearing on making the restraining order permanent.

“I think she may have thought that was an invasion of her rights,” Paoli said. “So we needed to clarify the situation and enter into this agreement to have a civil no contact order in place. That should hopefully take care of things.”

UM’s Athletic Conduct Team met and approved Johnson’s return as part of its new student-athlete conduct code. Jean Gee, UM’s senior associate athletic director, said the dissolution of the restraining order made Johnson’s return possible.

“When the TRO was dissolved there was really nothing there from a legal standpoint,” Gee said.

If he is charged, Johnson would face at least a temporary suspension.

The new conduct code was developed after an internal investigation began in December into UM’s handling of nine sexual assaults involving students.

The quarterback was throwing passes at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday at the University of Montana’s first scrimmage.

UM coach Robin Pflugrad said he welcomes Johnson’s return.

“I think any time you have a person of Jordy’s character and tremendous moral fiber, and he’s your team captain and part of the leadership council, your players are going to be fired up,” Pflugrad said. “And on top of that he’s a tremendous football player. When you get I would say your No. 1 guy back in all categories, on and off the football field, guys are excited.”

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