Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — An alleged rape at the Naval Academy draws attention from President Obama and sparks outrage in our area.
Three football players are accused of raping a female midshipman after a night of drinking and partying.
Rochelle Ritchie has strong reaction to the disturbing allegations.
The midshipman said the alleged rape happened at an off-campus party in Annapolis. She said she woke up with bruises and knew something bad had happened.
Three Navy football players could face prison time if convicted of gang raping a female midshipman in April.
“I was drinking. I drank a lot and from that point on, I don’t remember what happened and the next morning, I woke up with bruises and I knew something wasn’t right,” said the victim.
The names of the accused have not been released, but details of what led to their charges certainly has people in Annapolis talking.
“Hearing something like this is a little different because you don’t ever hear anything about the whole military service,” said Annapolis resident Luke Swann.
At Middleton’s Restaurant, a popular hangout for midshipmen, some say the allegations are disturbing but not surprising.
“It’s still a college campus. Unfortunately bad things happen sometimes,” said Ted Goebels, an Annapolis resident.
The midshipman said she found out about the rape through social media and friends.
“They’re telling me I had sexual interactions with people I wasn’t even aware of,” she said.
The victim’s attorney said her client was disciplined for drinking while the football players were allowed to remain on the team for the rest of the season.
“That just sends a message to women: you shouldn’t say anything because it’s going to cause you more problems,” said resident Heather Oster.
The 20-year-old woman said her attackers bragged about it to her face. She didn’t report the incident for months, out of denial. The lack of quick action taken by the Naval Academy has lawmakers outraged.
“Clearly what’s happening now is not working. It makes us weaker. We cannot afford to do that in our military,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.
At last month’s graduation, President Barack Obama did not hold back his disappointment and demanded change.
“We have to be determined to stop these crimes,” said the president.
The victim said she plans to stay at the Naval Academy in hopes of promoting change.
“These are some serious situations that need to be addressed, but I haven’t lost hope,” said
The number of sexual assaults rose six percent between last year and the year before. Unfortunately, many go unreported.
President Obama said those who commit sexual assault threaten the trust and discipline that make the military strong.