Former UM Running Back Says Rape Sentence Excessive

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A former Montana running back in prison for rape has asked a three-judge panel to reduce his sentence, arguing that the 30-year sentence a district court judge gave him earlier this year was excessive.

Beau Donaldson pleaded guilty last September to sexual intercourse without consent after admitting to the 2010 rape in a phone call monitored by police.

He was sentenced in January to 30 years in prison, with 20 of those years suspended. He’s eligible for parole if he serves 2 ½ years without incident.

However, the 23-year-old woman he raped told the review panel that she’s now serving a life sentence of emotional trauma related to the incident, in which she was forced to flee barefoot when he left the room.

“The only thing that is excessive in this case is the amount of suffering Beau has caused,” the victim said, according to the Missoulian.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who won the original sentence, is opposing any reduction, too.

On Friday, he praised the victim for her testimony before the panel, as well as the comments from another woman who reported a separate incident.

“I don’t think he should really be complaining now about the fact that he didn’t get exactly what he wanted when he got what he plea bargained for,” Van Valkenburg said.

Donaldson’s conviction came amid concern about sexual violence at the Missoula campus.

The U.S. government and the NCAA opened investigations in 2012 after the University of Montana and the city of Missoula were criticized for how they responded to reports of sexual assault. At least 11 sexual assaults involving university students were reported over an 18 month period.

In addition to Donaldson, another UM football player, former quarterback Jordan Johnson, was also charged with rape.

Johnson, 20, was acquitted by a jury in March after maintaining he had consensual sex with the woman.

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