We want your opinions

May 17, 2006

ISSUE:

The U.S. Naval Academy is pursuing a new tack in its crackdown on sexual harassment and assault: prosecuting cases with a rarely used form of court-martial that might make it easier to win convictions but doesn't mete out jail time to offenders.

The implications are important for the Annapolis military college, which has struggled to reform a culture that a Pentagon task force has deemed "hostile" to women.

Since 2001, one midshipman out of 37 accused of sexual assault has been convicted. Others faced administrative punishments, including expulsion, but left the academy with clean records.

In one of the first tests of the new strategy, senior and former football player Kenny Ray Morrison will face a "special court-martial" in July. He is charged with indecent assault, indecent acts and conduct unbecoming an officer after a Feb. 4 incident at a Washington hotel.

YOUR VIEW:

What do you think of this strategy? Is it worth it to trade no jail time for the conviction?

Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by tomorrow. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published Sunday.

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