Sex tapes made her cry, woman testifies

November 01, 2007|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,Sun reporter

WASHINGTON -- For almost a year, she and her boyfriend, a former Naval Academy midshipman, spent many weekends at the Annapolis home of Navy Cmdr. Kevin Ronan. The young woman said they would share a "family meal" every Sunday during which everyone - including other Mids - swapped stories about school and what they had done over the weekend.

When her boyfriend told her that Ronan had secretly taped them having sex, she isolated herself in a room and cried, the woman testified yesterday in Ronan's court-martial.

"I couldn't believe that someone would do that to me," she said in a small courtroom at the Washington Navy Yard.When Navy criminal investigators later showed her a clip in which she appeared, she said, "I watched about five seconds. I didn't want to see it."

Prosecutors allege that Ronan secretly taped the woman and at least eight current or former midshipmen having sex and masturbating in separate instances between April 2006 and January. Six of the midshipmen took the stand yesterday, a day after two former midshipmen testified that they has found the digital video discs and videocassettes in Ronan's house in January. The Sun is not identifying the accusers because they are alleged to be the victims of sex crimes.

Defense attorneys for Ronan pointed out that none of the people who are alleged to have appeared in the videos saw Ronan make them. They say Ronan had nothing to do with the tapes and that one of his accusers is trying to extort money from him.

"You personally, as a matter of fact, don't know who made these tapes, no?" defense attorney William Ferris asked the woman, who replied that she did not.

Ronan, a former physician for the academy who is now assigned to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, is charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, illegal wiretapping and obstruction of justice.

The woman, 22, who lives in Norfolk, said she began staying at Ronan's house in January 2006, when she attended college in Northern California and her boyfriend attended the Naval Academy. Her boyfriend testified Monday that he had met Ronan two years earlier through his involvement as a team physician for Naval Academy sports.

She said Ronan had told her that she could stay at his house as long as she wanted to. "`Doc' was that kind of person," she said, using a nickname that other midshipmen used for the doctor.

She said her feelings about Ronan changed when, while in the physician's home office, she and her boyfriend stumbled upon a DVD containing gay pornography. Several days later, after returning from a trip to California, her boyfriend told her that he and a former midshipman had found sex tapes in Ronan's house that contained clips of various couples, including them.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case today or tomorrow, and defense attorneys are expected to complete theirs next week.

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

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