2 Navy athletes focus in rape case

Female Mid assaulted at off-campus party

July 02, 2000|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

Two Naval Academy football players are being investigated in connection with a rape of a female midshipman early Friday at an off-campus party in Arnold, authorities said yesterday.

The two male students are under the supervision of Naval Academy personnel on school grounds in Annapolis, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Naval Investigative Service and Anne Arundel County police.

County police spokesman Joseph E. Jordan said police officials have brought the case to the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office to "determine which charges should be placed."

Kristin Riggin, spokeswoman for State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, said prosecutors will work with officers to make sure "the charges accurately define the crime." Because of the delicate nature of sex offenses, she said, it is routine for the state's attorney's office and police to cooperate and delay charging so as to better review the evidence. The Sun does not reveal names of suspects until charges have been filed or report the names of rape victims.

Police responded to a report of a rape at 2:02 a.m. Friday from hospital employees at North Arundel Hospital in Glen Burnie, where the victim had checked herself in a short time earlier.

She was treated and released several hours later.

"Our investigation revealed that there was a party in a home in Arnold with 11 people attending, including some midshipmen," Jordan said. "Our investigation has centered on two midshipmen as suspects."

"[We] are working closely with the Naval Investigative Service and the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office," he said, adding that no charges will be filed in the case until the evidence and witness information are fully reviewed.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that there was "heavy drinking" at the party and that witnesses reportedly saw two people running from a room where the victim was resting.

Cmdr. Mike Brady, spokesman for the academy, said he would not comment because the investigation is continuing and the school wants to protect the privacy of the students being questioned.

"These allegations were originally reported to the Anne Arundel County police, and they have primary jurisdiction at this time," he said.

Though the school year ended in May, the brigade of midshipmen is usually involved in naval activities throughout the summer, including cruises and training sessions.

Many juniors stay at the academy during the summer to lead the incoming freshmen, who arrived at the academy Friday for plebe induction.

The two students being questioned are juniors, sources said.

Academy rules, which prohibit underage drinking and confine younger students to the campus and older students to curfews, apply during the summer.

The training school for Navy and Marine officers endured scandals several years ago when midshipmen where charged with cheating on tests, stealing cars, selling drugs and the hazing of women.

Two years ago, the academy drew heated criticism for expelling a female freshman for having sexual relations with the football team's quarterback, Chris McCoy, while only reprimanding McCoy.

Academy officials also expelled two other upperclassmen for having sex with the freshman, but McCoy graduated with his class.

In response to the scandals, the school introduced new ethics training to reinforce the school's honor code, which obligates students not to "lie, cheat or steal."

At an ethics conference last week, school Superintendent Vice Adm. John R. Ryan told a panel of educators and others that he believes the training has restored integrity to the school.

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