MISSOUA, Mont. - Former University of Montana running back Beau Donaldson pleaded guilty Tuesday morning, to sexual intercourse without consent.
Donaldson was arrested earlier this year for allegedly raping a friend, at her home, in September 2010. He originally pleaded not guilty to charge, but after discussions between his attorney and the county prosecutors, Donaldson changed his plea.
At that time, court documents detailed a phone conversation where Donaldson confessed to the woman he had raped her.
After the court hearing Tuesday, Deputy County Attorney Shaun Donovan said he plans to recommend a 30 sentence with 20 suspended in the Montana State Prison. Because of the plea agreement, the state can't recommend a higher sentence than that.
"That's the bargained for amount," said Donovan.
Donaldson's attorney Milt Datsopoulos will have the opportunity to argue for a lesser sentence. Dotsopoulos said he doesn't think prison is the answer for Donaldson.
"A lot of what will happen will depend on what Beau's life's been like, what's he accomplished, what problems he's had," said Datsopoulos.
While he can ask for the lower sentence Datsopoulos worries Donaldson will get a tougher sentence. For one simple reason: Three investigations into allegations the university, the prosecutor and the police mishandled sex assault investigations.
"That pollution concerns me, that it will slop over to my client," he said.
Donovan agrees it's a valid point. But trusts that the judicial process will play out as it should.
"I don't think that's completely far fetched. But we don't want that to happen," Donovan said.
In fact Donovan took some time to research other cases before deciding on a recommendation.
According to Montana Department of Corrections, from 2001 until now 72 people in Missoula County have been sentenced for sexual intercourse without consent,
The average prison time is 25 years, and over half of those sentenced went to prison, but had some time suspended.
Ultimately it will be up to the judge to decide. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for November.