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Former Montana quarterback rape trial begins


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The motion also claimed the case was filed by county prosecutors to send a message about their efforts to pursue rape cases.

Last April, the federal Department of Education announced it was investigating a complaint alleging the university discriminated against female students, faculty and staff by failing to address a sexually hostile environmental caused by its failure to appropriately respond to reports of sexual assault.

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Soon after, the U.S. Justice Department announced its investigation into the handling of rape investigations and prosecutions, and the school announced in May the NCAA had been investigating its athletic programs for undisclosed reasons.

The Department of Education said this week it had closed the discrimination complaint because the allegations were being addressed by the Department of Justice investigation. The Justice Department and NCAA investigations continue.

Johnson’s case surfaced on March 9, when the female student obtained a temporary restraining order against him. He was briefly suspended from the football team then reinstated when a civil no-contact order replaced the restraining order.

Coach Robin Pflugrad enthusiastically welcomed him back to spring drills and lauded his "character and tremendous moral fiber."

The woman’s lawyer, Josh Van de Wetering, quickly complained to the athletic department that the comment left his client "less than confident in the university’s commitment to protect her."

Three days after coach Pflugrad welcomed Johnson back, university president Royce Engstrom announced he was not renewing the contracts of the coach and athletic director Jim O’Day. Both were immediately relieved of their duties, without an explanation from Engstrom.




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