MISSOULA, Mont. - A well known author asked a judge to release records in the 2012 rape case against University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson.
Jon Krakauer, author of "Into the Wild," is working on a new book that deals in part with how the university and the Commissioner of Higher Education resolved a rape complaint against Johnson.
Krakauer filed a petition against Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian. He wants records from any action Christian took in 2012 following a reported ruling by a university court where it appears it was recommended Johnson be expelled.
This won't be an easy fight though, as the Montana University System maintains Johnson is protected by state and federal privacy laws.
There is federal case filed in 2012 by an anonymous student against the University of Montana, trying to stop the school from holding hearings to expel him after he was accused of raping another student. While the name is redacted from the civil complaint, the facts are same as the criminal complaint against Johnson.
Krakauer wants all correspondence from Christian about a University court decision to expel that un-named student. Krakauer's attorney Mike Meloy said Christian apparently overturned a decision by UM President Royce Engstrom to expel the student.
"We cannot confirm or disseminate either the student record or anything associated with any student by name or identity because the bottom line is this: both state and federal law prohibit the university system from releasing any kind of student record without the student's written consent," said Kevin McRae, Deputy Commissioner for Communications & Human Resources at the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.
Krakauer's petition claims there is public interest in the case as the Officer of the Commissioner of Higher Education is publically funded and the Montana Open Records Act guarantees citizens can inspect all public writings.
Last March, a Missoula County jury acquitted Johnson of rape, after a month-long trial.