Two women testify of rapes by ex-Navy football player

Hearing held to determine if evidence exists for court-martial

November 03, 2006|By Greg Garland and Bradley Olson | Greg Garland and Bradley Olson,Sun reporters

WASHINGTON -- Two women testified in a military hearing yesterday that they were raped this year by former Navy football player Kenny Ray Morrison, who prosecutors allege drugged them before sexually assaulting them.

Through his attorneys, Morrison has maintained that he is innocent.

Speaking quietly, one accuser said she awoke in a Washington hotel room Feb. 4 after a night of heavy drinking to see Morrison.

"I remember being woken up by Mr. Morrison standing over me and talking to me," the woman testified. "Basically he wanted to have sex with me. I told him that I did not want to."

She said that Morrison - a virtual stranger - picked her up from the bed and moved her to an adjacent bed.

Now a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, the woman said she tried and failed to resist him both verbally and physically while he removed her clothes and raped her. She testified that Morrison sexually assaulted her two more times after that.

Another woman who recently graduated from the academy also testified at the Article 32 hearing, held to determine whether there is enough evidence to court-martial Morrison in the separate incidents. She said she blacked out after drinking five beers at O'Brien's Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Annapolis on April 21, the last provided by Morrison.

The next morning, the woman said, she woke up naked next to Morrison in an Annapolis house she didn't recognize. She testified that she didn't remember anything but felt pain in her thighs and genital area.

Both women's hair eventually tested positive for GHB, a common date rape drug that is also used recreationally, Navy prosecutors said.

The Sun does not identify people who allege sexual assault.

William Ferris, Morrison's civilian defense attorney, said Navy prosecutors failed to establish that Morrison had given any kind of drug to the women. He noted that both had been drinking heavily.

He maintained that the sexual relations in the Washington hotel were "consensual," pointing out that the woman never called for help even as others passed through the room.

"She has sexual intercourse three times, and each time she goes to sleep" afterward, Ferris added.

In the case of the second woman, Ferris noted that she "doesn't remember anything" about what happened that night. And when Morrison drove the woman back to her car in an Annapolis parking garage the next morning, she acknowledged kissing him on the cheek, Ferris said.

The daylong hearing at the Washington Navy Yard brings further unwelcome attention to the academy's long-standing problems with sexual misconduct and underage drinking, which have been linked in recent trials. The accuser in the Feb. 4 incident was 20. She testified that she had as many as nine drinks that evening.

Morrison, 24, is charged with drugging and raping the two women, as well as other lesser charges.

A Kingwood, Texas, native and senior last year whose graduation is on hold, Morrison was originally scheduled to face a lower form of military trial in the Feb. 4 incident, but those lesser charges were dropped in September after investigators discovered evidence of a date rape drug on the hair of the accuser from the Feb. 4 incident and interviewed the second woman.

Morrison is "the common link between both of these women," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Hunt, the Navy prosecutor. "These young women were taken advantage of once they were put in a position of reduced capacity or no capacity."

The first woman testified that she spent the early evening of Feb. 3 drinking margaritas with several other Mids - male and female - at a Chili's restaurant in Annapolis. Some of the Mids traveled to Washington for a night of dancing, stopping at an Embassy Suites hotel near Georgetown, where other Mids on the Navy football team had rented two rooms.

The woman said she had two shots and two beers in the hotel room, and 6 or 7 ounces of a mixed drink that was given to her by a person she doesn't remember at Lulu's, a nearby dance club. She said Morrison was not part of the original group at Chili's, and that while she saw him in a hotel suite earlier that night, she had not socialized with him that evening.

She fell sick shortly after consuming the mixed drink, she said. Asked by prosecutors whether she was drunk, she said: "I think I was more buzzed than I was really intoxicated."

The female midshipman became sick in a bathroom and had a friend get her a key to a hotel suite. She lay down on the bed and fell asleep, she said.

After Morrison woke her up, moved her and removed her clothes, she told him "No, you can't do this," and tried to shield herself, she testified. But he forced himself on her, she said.

She testified that she was disoriented and fell asleep, and that he raped her a second time. Later, she said, she was reaching off the bed trying to find her clothes when he pulled her to him and sexually assaulted her a third time.

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