New hearing to decide fate of midshipman Naval Academy calls back 4 who accused classmate of sexually assaulting them

July 23, 1996

A Naval Academy officer yesterday opened a hearing into allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against a student leader that could result in his expulsion.

Scott Ward, 23, who was the third-ranking midshipman, was arrested in April and accused of sexually assaulting four female classmates. But a Navy investigator recommended that no criminal charges be prosecuted and that the matter be handled as an alleged violation of academy rules.

The current hearing, conducted by Lt. Cmdr. Alan Kaufman, will cover the original allegations against Ward, which ranged from fondling to rape. It also will consider whether Ward violated a ban on sexual activity in Bancroft Hall, the huge dormitory where the 3,400 male and 540 female midshipmen live, and whether he "fraternized" with two freshman women.

Under Navy rules, fraternization is a prohibited social or sexual relationship between a superior and a subordinate. One of the freshman women had accused Ward of rape; his defense was that they had a consensual relationship, according to Ward's friends. The other woman allegedly had sex with Ward during spring break.

The academy has called back his four original accusers and a half-dozen other midshipmen and recent graduates. A few more witnesses, who are serving aboard ships, will be questioned by phone.

"They're not starting from scratch. More information has come forward," said Capt. Thomas Jurkowsky, an academy spokesman.

The hearing will continue today. After the conclusion, Kaufman will make a recommendation to the academy's commandant on whether to dismiss the complaints, allowing Ward to graduate, or forward them for disciplinary action.

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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