An emotional day in court as former University of Montana Grizzly football player Beau Donaldson was put in handcuffs to be transported to prison, for raping a former friend.
It was a long day in court but the judge made a decision to put Donaldson away for 10 years. Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend sentenced Donaldson to 30 years in the Montana State Prison with 20 suspended.
The sentencing hearing lasted more than five hours. The victim, her family and a friend who was there the night of the rape all testified in court Friday. All of them in tears or full of rage.
The victim recounted the night Donaldson raped her in September of 2010. She said she was asleep and woke up to Donaldson on top of her. She pretended not to wake up and once she thought he was gone she ran from his home.
The victim said Donaldson chased her and she feared for her life. “I thought I was dead,” she told the court. She said Donaldson grabbed her arm, but eventually gave up. At that point she called her mother.
When her mom took the stand, she recounted the phone call from her ‘hysterical’ daughter. She told her daughter to run from Donaldson, as she screamed into the phone ‘save me.’
The victim’s father testified too. He didn’t cry but was instead full of anger. He called Donaldson a ‘no good rapist’ and a ‘perverted monster.’ He asked the judge to send Donaldson to Deer Lodge where he belongs.
County prosecutors also had a statement via video conferencing from a woman who said she was attacked by Donaldson in 2008, but never reported with police.
Among the witnesses Donaldson’s attorney called were a Big Sky High School teacher and a former employer of Donaldson. They both admitted the crime Donaldson committed was horrific and that to hear it recounted in court Friday was hard. But both said they didn’t believe prison was the answer for Donaldson, and that he would benefit from a community based sentence.
Donaldson’s father testified too, his wife, Beau’s mother stood next to him. “He’s remorseful. That doesn’t make it right, let him make it right. He will,” said Donaldson’s father.
Beau Donaldson himself was last to make a statement. “It just rippled down and rippled down and rippled down,” he said.
“And the way I see it, when you hit rock bottom like this the only way you can go is up from here.” He’s headed to Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge. Donaldson could be eligible for parole after two and half years.
"Beau there are consequences for your behavior, even though you have lived a pretty good life up until this point," said Judge Townsend. "There is absolutely no excuse for what you did this night."
Donaldson sobbed as deputies handcuffed him and escorted him out of the courtroom.
When he gets out, he’ll owe the victim and her family over $9,000 in restitution for medical costs and counseling charges.