Investigating officer to hear Navy rape case

April 06, 2006|By LAURA CADIZ | LAURA CADIZ,SUN REPORTER

The case of a former Navy quarterback accused of rape will go to an investigating officer who will recommend how the case should proceed, after the midshipman's attorney decided yesterday not to continue a pretrial hearing.

The Article 32 hearing for Lamar S. Owens Jr., which began in March, had been postponed until yesterday so that Owens' attorneys could examine his computer for an instant message conversation with the accuser, who is also a midshipman. But Owens' attorney, Steven F. Wrobel, said the analysis is not complete and that he has decided to use that information at a later date, if necessary.

"We actually didn't receive the hard drive until last week, so my experts just got started on that," Wrobel said. "Instead of pushing things forward, we all agreed to close [the pretrial hearing] at this time."

The investigating officer's report and recommendations will be sent to the Naval Academy's superintendent, Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt. The superintendent will determine how to proceed, which could include dismissing the charges, ordering a court-martial or imposing a punishment to be handled through administrative procedures, said Judy Campbell, an academy spokeswoman.

Campbell said it is unclear when the report will be completed.

Owens is accused of raping a classmate in her Naval Academy dorm room Jan. 29. During the Article 32 hearing, which is the equivalent of a grand jury hearing, the woman testified that after an evening of heavy drinking, she woke up and found Owens kissing her. She said she turned away and told him to stop.

The woman - whom The Sun is not identifying because she is an alleged victim of a sexual assault - testified that she later awoke with Owens on top of her.

laura.cadiz@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Bradley Olson contributed to this article.

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