Expert links Navy doctor to writing on sex video

November 02, 2007|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,Sun reporter

WASHINGTON -- A handwriting expert testified yesterday that there is no doubt the label on a disc that contains sex videos of Naval Academy midshipmen was written by a Navy doctor who is accused of secretly filming the students at his home.

Donald Moryan, a forensic document examiner with the Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory in Georgia, also told a military jury that it was "highly probable" that Cmdr. Kevin Ronan wrote the labels on two other lewd DVDs that prosecutors say were recovered from the doctor's Annapolis house.

Prosecutors in Ronan's court-martial at the Washington Navy Yard were hoping that Moryan's testimony would put a dent in the defense's assertion that Ronan had nothing to do with the sex videos.

The defense attorney has contended that the videos are being used to extort money from the doctor, and that they were likely made by one or more of the midshipmen who appear in them.

Ronan, who worked for the Naval Academy until May 2006 and 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.

He is accused of using a camera hidden in an air purifier to secretly tape at least eight current or former midshipmen who stayed at his home on weekends as part of the academy's sponsor program.

Prosecutors allege that the videos surfaced in January when a former midshipman stumbled upon a disc labeled in red marker with "LECTURES" and letters that appeared to be abbreviations.

The former midshipman testified Monday that the label made him suspicious, and that after viewing the contents, he searched the house and found more sex tapes. The Sun does not identify the alleged victims of sex crimes.

Moryan, who said he has analyzed more than 100,000 documents in his career, said the writing on the first disc and Ronan's "known writing" are a certain match. He compared the writing on the discs with samples Ronan had filled out for investigators and with medical forms taken from his office.

Moryan said the writing on the two other discs differed in some ways from Ronan's "known writing," but was similar enough that it is highly probable, under the laboratory's scale for matches, that Ronan wrote the labels.

William Ferris, Ronan's civilian attorney, argued that Moryan was selectively showing the jurors samples on a screen to support his conclusion.

The prosecution is expected to call its final witness today. Defense attorneys said they expect to conclude early next week.

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

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