Midshipman disciplined for sex harassment

July 06, 1994|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Sun Staff Writer

A senior midshipman at the Naval Academy has been disciplined for sexual harassment while another midshipman is under investigation in a sexual harassment case, an academy official said.

"With both of these cases there was an immediate investigation," said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Weishaupt, academy spokesman.

In one case, Midshipman 3rd Class Stephen J. Ciccarelli has been accused of going to the room of a high school student attending a seminar at the academy last month and climbing into her bed, kissing her and forcing her hands on him, officials said.

Mr. Ciccarelli has denied assaulting the woman.

"That's being evaluated right now. Nothing was overlooked, nothing ignored," said Commander Weishaupt. "Right now it's alleged."

In the case of the senior midshipman, Capt. John B. Padgett, commandant of midshipmen, recommended expelling him for harassing three female midshipmen over two years. That case ** involves unwanted kissing of the women and electronic messages pressuring one of them to continue a relationship, according to an academy source familiar with the case.

Captain Padgett's recommendation was overruled last month by the school's superintendent, Rear Adm. Thomas C. Lynch, who decided on a variety of punishments, including loss of privileges, demerits and human relations training.

Commander Weishaupt said the senior still is at the Naval Academy and undergoing an evaluation that will determine whether he graduates and becomes a naval officer.

Both the Navy and the Naval Academy have been under fire for their treatment of women. During the Navy's notorious 1991 Tailhook Convention, women were sexually assaulted by Navy aviators, and in 1989, Gwen Dreyer, a female midshipman was handcuffed to a urinal by jeering male midshipmen.

Naval Academy officials implemented measures to deal with the issue. They brought in more female officers, coaches and faculty, while revising the curriculum and conduct system to deal with harassment.

A Naval Academy survey four months ago found that 83 percent of the females in the Class of 1994 felt fully accepted by their classmates, compared with 58 percent in the Class of 1990.

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