MT University System Won't Give Author Records On UM Rape Case - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

MT University System Won't Give Author Records On UM Rape Case

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A well-known author is asking a judge to order the release of records from the 2012 rape case against University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson.

Jon Krakauer, best known for his non-fiction books "Into the Wild," and "Into Thin Air," originally asked the Office of Commissioner of Higher Education's office for the records. When it shut down his request, his attorney filed a petition against the commissioner's office.

The petition and summons, filed by Krakaur's attorney Mike Meloy on his behalf, shows the book will look at how the Montana University System handled accusations of sexual assault against Johnson.

In 2012, the University of Montana disciplinary committee found Johnson guilty of raping a fellow student, leading to his expulsion. In the summons, Krakauer asks the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education to "inspect or obtain" copies of records detailing how the office handled the UM disciplinary committee's actions. The office said, under state law, it can not share the documents.

"The Montana university system is prohibited by, both federal and state law, from releasing any and students records without student's consent," said Deputy Commissioner For Higher Education, Kevin McRae.

In the petition, Krakauer said the commissioner's office is violating his constitutional rights by withholding the records. Still, commissioners said without a student's written permission, they can not release any information regarding the case.

"We have not been provided consent by any students, either the particular individual Mr. Krakauer is interested in, or anyone else," McRae said.

So far, the office is not confirming the documents even exist.

"To confirm or deny would be to establish a fact, which would be a release of a record that we can not do without any students permission," McRae said.

Since his acquittal last year, Johnson has been allowed back into school, and back onto the football team.

The petition was filed in Lewis and Clark County District Court on Wednesday. It gives the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education until March 26 to respond.

ABC FOX MONTANA tried to get in touch with Jordan Johnson, but we have not received a response.

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