Thursday, June 20, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Three Navy football players charged with raping midshipwoman

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Rape charges have come down on three football players charged with raping a midshipwoman, a story I mentioned in the news briefs earlier this month.

The trio have been charged under military law with rape, sexual assault, and lying to investigators about an alleged sexual assault of a midshipwoman who was passed out from drinking, the Naval Academy announced Wednesday night.

The suspects were not immediately identified, but they are charged under Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for rape and sexual assault, and under Article 107 for making false official statements. Convictions under Article 120 could bring jail terms of more than 20 years, and up to life.

An Article 32 hearing will occur for the trio.  No date has been set for the hearing.

In a statement, Susan Burke, the lawyer for the midshipwoman, said "my client and I are cautiously optimistic that justice will finally prevail in this case."

The midshipwoman told agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that she was raped by the trio in 1.167 years ago at the "football house," where players went to party every weekend.

The midshipwoman, who drank heavily at the party, said she woke up with bruises on her arms and legs, and learned later from friends and from Facebook and other social media postings that the players bragged about having sex with her while she was blacked out, which is the definition of rape under a January 6, 2012 revision of sexual assault provisions.

With her face hidden in silhouette to protect her identity, the midshipwoman went on CBS "This Morning" earlier this month and said, "The attackers had bragged about it. They had told me to my face -- what they did."

This is the latest of a string of sexual assault incidents dating back to at least May 22. This case is especially cringeworthy, because the military rape culture intersects with the sports rape culture. []

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