MISSOULA - Former Montana Grizzlies football player Beau Donaldson will remain a free man despite the Missoula County Attorney's Office's attempt to put him back in jail.
Donaldson pleaded guilty to rape in 2010. Judge Karen Townsend sentenced him to 30 years in prison with 20 of those suspended in 2013. He was released in 2016 and has been living in Bozeman since his release from prison.
Missoula County attorney Kirsten Pabst filed a petition in September to revoke Donaldson’s sentence after he violated his parole numerous times.
Part of Donaldson’s parole restricts him from drinking alcohol, being in bars, owning a smartphone, having social media accounts, and leaving the state without his parole supervisor’s permission.
Since his release, he’s violated all these parole restrictions. But Judge Townsend said on Monday that she could not send him back to prison because a new state law bars her from doing so.
Donaldson’s attorney, Peter Lacny, argued that a law recently passed by the Montana Legislature limits a judge’s discretion when it comes breaking conditions of a sentence compared to committing new crimes.
The new law only allows judges to revoke a sentence if they believe the supervising officers have used all available sanctions.
In Donaldson’s situation, this was not the case. Lacny said Donaldson’s parole supervisor did punish him for the violations, including 10 days in jail, sending him back to sex offender treatment and chemical and mental dependency treatments.
Judge Townsend warned Donaldson and his attorney that his continued use of alcohol was of great concern of hers when she sentenced him in 2013. She added that Donaldson’s supervision should include stricter alcohol testing.
Donaldson apologized to Judge Townsend at the end of the hearing.