Mids accused in rape at party indicted

Football coach suspends defendants from team

July 22, 2000|By Laura Sullivan and Andrea F. Siegel | Laura Sullivan and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County grand jury indicted Naval Academy football players Arion Keith Williams and Cordrea Brittingham yesterday on charges that they raped a fellow midshipman at an off-campus party in Arnold.

Following the felony indictments, Naval Academy head football coach Charlie Weatherbie announced that both players have been suspended indefinitely. The suspension prohibits them from participating in "all athletic activities," including meetings, practices and games, academy officials said.

Both players had been considered key players on the fall's starting lineup. The team's guide describes Brittingham, a slotback known to teammates as "Dre," as "one of the team's top athletes." Williams, known as "Bas," was compared to former Navy star players Robert Green and Sean Andrews in his position of cornerback.

Academy officials said the two athletes will retain their active midshipman status pending the outcome of the trial, which attorneys speculate will not begin until early next year.

In addition to the rape charges, county prosecutors brought several additional sex-offense charges before the grand jury, said Assistant State's Attorney Laura S. Kiessling. She did not comment on the details of the grand jury proceeding, which is considered secret.

Brittingham, 21, of Berlin was indicted on four charges: second-degree rape, attempted second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense and conspiracy to commit second-degree rape. If convicted of all charges, the sentence could reach 70 years.

Williams, 21, of Detroit was indicted on six charges: second-degree sex offense, attempted second-degree sex offense, second-degree rape, attempted second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense and conspiracy to commit second-degree rape. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 110 years.

Brittingham's attorney, Warren A. Brown, said his client was not surprised by the suspension.

The assault is alleged to have occurred late June 29 or early in the morning June 30 at the Arnold home of another midshipman. According to charging documents, the woman passed out in a bedroom of the home and awoke to find the two men assaulting her.

Williams' attorney, T. Joseph Touhey, said the indictments were not unexpected.

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