Date rape drug was found in female Mid

Judge bars evidence from court-martial, saying it can't be linked to defendant, an academy senior

September 14, 2006|By Bradley Olson | Bradley Olson,Sun reporter

WASHINGTON -- A female Naval Academy midshipman was given a date rape drug near the time of an alleged assault against her at a Georgetown hotel, according to testimony yesterday at the Washington Navy Yard.

That evidence won't be heard at the special court-martial of Kenny Ray Morrison, a former football player and senior who is charged with indecent assault, indecent acts and conduct unbecoming an officer in the Feb. 4 incident.

Lt. Col. Paul McConnell, a Marine Corps judge, tossed out the toxicology test result, which he said could prove that the drug GHB was in the woman's system during a six-week period but could not be linked to Morrison.

Morrison, a native of Kingwood, Texas, has pleaded not guilty. He will face no jail time if convicted in the midlevel form of military trial, which is often used for misdemeanors. Jury selection is set to begin Sept. 26.

Morrison's DNA was recovered from a rape kit examination of the woman. The judge cleared the court to allow further discussion of that evidence, citing rape shield laws.

The incident was also originally investigated by Washington's Metropolitan Police Department and turned over to a civilian grand jury. Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment about the grand jury's findings, how the case was turned over to Navy investigators or why Morrison was not charged with rape.

He, the woman and other midshipmen ended up at the Embassy Suites hotel in Washington on Feb. 4 after a rowdy night of drinking.

The Sun does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

According to charging documents, Morrison lifted the woman out of a bed where she was sleeping and carried her to another bed, removing her clothes "with intent to gratify his sexual desires."

The documents say he was "taking advantage of her partial incapacitation" from alcohol use and pressured her, "presuming consent, to engage in multiple acts of sexual intercourse" in the presence of another midshipman.

He also lifted a blanket and intentionally exposed his nude body and that of the female midshipman to another midshipman, according to the documents.

Scant details have emerged about the case since Morrison was charged in April. His case was largely overshadowed by the rape trial of former Navy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr., who was acquitted of rape in July but convicted of lesser charges.

Owens is awaiting a decision by Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, the academy superintendent, on whether he will be allowed to graduate from the Annapolis military college or be expelled.

A former Naval Academy instructor was cleared Sept. 1 of military charges stemming from sexually explicit remarks he made to midshipmen last summer.

That case was the second setback in recent months for Rempt's campaign against sexual misconduct.

His "zero-tolerance" stance on sexual impropriety has led defense attorneys to say that he is on a witch-hunt.

In July, the Associated Press reported, McConnell ruled that a mandatory training video for academy personnel about sexual abuse might have influenced potential jurors in Morrison's case.

The military judge refused to remove the case from Rempt's authority, giving defense attorneys greater leeway in striking potential jurors.

bradley.olson@baltsun.com

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