By late March, they had broken up. Not long after, in the early hours of March 29, according to her account, Ward came into her room drunk and got in her bed. He took off his shorts, began fondling her and demanded sex, Jackson told others, but she refused.
Jackson's roommate, Maureen McFarland, says she woke up when someone knocked at the door, but fell back asleep. The next morning, Jackson told her Ward had been in the room and had been "out of line."
"From what I know, I don't think she's lying about it," she says.
While Ward dated Jackson, he came into her room drunk several times, says a midshipman who witnessed it. "Naomi would say, 'You gotta go, we have to get some sleep,' and he wouldn't leave," this midshipman says.
Ward denies doing anything inappropriate, two close friends say. That night, he was drinking in Annapolis with other SEAL candidates and the admiral in charge of the program. Eager to talk about the experience, they say, Ward stopped by Jackson's room, stayed for 30 minutes and left.
Unlike the other women, Jackson filed a complaint right away. Her friends and sponsors say the normally outgoing Jackson grew quiet and sad.
And her troubles only got worse: The day she testified against Ward, Jackson was caught in a lie about why she skipped a mandatory military dinner. Found guilty of violating the academy's honor code, she was threatened with expulsion and escaped with two months' probation.
Meanwhile, Ward got a break. Another senior, Patty Restrepo, reported that four days before the alleged assault, she heard her roommate and Jackson discussing how a sexual assault charge would ruin Ward's career. Cummings said the statement showed Jackson plotted against Ward.
Neither Jackson nor the other woman involved in the conversation had a chance to tell their side, according to Jackson's lawyer. Restrepo wouldn't comment.
The investigator, who had planned to press an indecent assault charge against Ward, dropped it. Now the academy is investigating Jackson for having sex in the dorm "on several occasions" and "making false statements obstruction of justice; and perjury."
'We're not protecting him'
Like complex date-rape cases at civilian colleges, the Scott Ward case has left both students and officials struggling to sort out the contradictory accounts.
"I don't think there's anyone out there who doesn't see this as a puzzle," says Ensign L. Allen White Jr., a 1996 graduate from Baton Rouge, La., who socialized with Ward.
Legal experts say the toughest sexual assault cases to prosecute are those in which the accuser and accused have a prior sexual relationship. But friends and supporters of the women say the academy's investigation was flawed.
Contrary to standard civilian practice, Navy prosecutors permitted Ward's attorney to question his accusers outside court. They didn't call witnesses to rebut Restrepo's suggestion of a plot against Ward. Naval investigators never interviewed Jackson's roommate, McFarland, who would have supported her account.
Academy officials say they have done their best to be fair in handling a difficult case. They say the academy is redoubling its efforts to be sensitive to sexual harassment, noting that the superintendent, Admiral Charles R. Larson, called a closed-door meeting of all women midshipman in April to talk about the problem. They insist the administration is neither retaliating against the women nor seeking to exonerate Ward.
"Absolutely not," says Lt. Scott Allen, an academy spokesman. "There wasn't sufficient evidence for a court martial. But they're going to an administrative conduct hearing. We are not protecting him."
But some at the academy say more needs to be done. Professor James Barry, who wrote in a recent newspaper article that the academy covers up its problems, has called for a sexual harassment hot line and "an impartial civilian" to monitor complaints.
Last year, Alicia Chiaramonte, the May graduate now in the Marines, worked on a date-rape video that was shown to the entire brigade just before the Ward case broke. In the film, she played the rape victim; a man on the rugby team played the accused.
Students tittered at the opening scenes, she says, but by the end of the video, the audience was silent and thoughtful.
"The reason we have so much training is we have a problem with sexual harassment at the academy," Chiaramonte says. "If someone uses their leadership, their authority to their advantage, that's terrible."
Pub Date: 7/20/96