5 midshipmen to leave rather than face sex assault charges

January 18, 1998|By Neal Thompson | Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF

Five midshipmen at the Naval Academy will be allowed to leave the school voluntarily rather than face sexual assault charges stemming from two incidents in the past year in which female midshipmen were assaulted by male classmates, academy officials say.

Each will have to reimburse the Naval Academy $60,000 to $83,000 for the schooling he has received.

The academy declined to identify the midshipmen.

The first incident was in April at an Annapolis motel room that two female midshipmen, four male midshipmen and two civilians had rented for a party.

Five months later, one of the female midshipmen, a plebe, or freshman, at the time, accused her four male classmates, sophomores at the time, of assaulting her.

"She did not report it right away, but we're not sure why," said Cmdr. Mike Brady, an academy spokesman.

The four accused were to have faced Article 32 hearings this month before a Navy magistrate in Washington. The hearings, similar to a grand jury, would have determined whether the students should face courts-martial.

Rather than risk criminal charges and possible jail sentences, the midshipmen asked to be separated, the academy's word for expulsion.

In the second incident, a senior midshipman was accused of sexually assaulting two female midshipmen, both juniors, Oct. 18 and 19 after sneaking into their rooms. Like the other four midshipmen, he faced an Article 32 hearing and decided to request separation rather than risk a court-martial.

Adm. Charles R. Larson, the academy superintendent, approved all five separation requests, but the requests also require the approval of Navy Secretary John H. Dalton.

Pub Date: 1/18/98

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