Assault claimed at academy

Navy investigates report of sexual incident in dorm

October 20, 2007|By Nicole Fuller and Bradley Olson | Nicole Fuller and Bradley Olson,Sun reporters

The Navy is investigating an allegation of sexual assault involving two midshipmen last weekend in the campus dormitory, a school spokeswoman said yesterday.

No charges have been filed in the incident, the latest of several sexual misconduct reports at the military college that have surfaced in the past year.

The spokeswoman would not release the names of the midshipmen or their status at the academy but said "measures [have been] taken to prevent both parties in this case from coming into contact" while the academy and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service conduct their probe.

"Only after the investigation is complete and the facts known, will the Academy decide how to proceed with the allegations," the school said in a statement regarding the incident in the early morning of Oct. 14 in Bancroft Hall.

The spokeswoman would not comment on the alleged victim's condition but said the student has been assigned an advocate and has been offered "support, counseling and medical assistance."

Complaints of sexual harassment and assaults have dogged the academy since women were admitted to the military college more than 30 years ago, highlighted by several high-profile incidents.

Former Navy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr. was acquitted of rape in July 2006 but found guilty of two lesser charges, including conduct unbecoming an officer, for having sex with a female midshipman in the Naval Academy dormitory. He was expelled earlier this year and ordered to repay more than $90,000 in education costs.

In April, a backup football player, Kenny Ray Morrison, was sentenced to two years in a military prison for having sex with a female midshipman without her consent in a Washington hotel room in February 2006. More recently, Deborah Jeanne Palfrey, nicknamed the "D.C. Madam," revealed that one of the women who worked for her was an instructor at the academy.

And on Oct. 29, a former Naval Academy doctor who welcomed Mids into his home through the sponsor program will face court-martial on charges that he secretly made DVDs of them having sex there.

This fall, the academy unrolled a mandatory set of seminars intended to increase sensitivity to sexual harassment and assaults. Over four years, Mids will get specialized lessons on dating, sexual consent, defining rape and violence prevention.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com bradley.olson@baltsun.com

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