Reporting Mike Schuh
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There are new developments in the alleged rape case at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Just days after the accuser spoke publicly about the case on WJZ, formal charges were filed.
Mike Schuh has the latest.
This puts the case one step closer toward going to trial.
The US Naval Academy officially charges three football players for allegedly raping a female fellow midshipman. The 20-year-old victim claims the assault happened April 2012 at an off-campus party.
“I was drinking. I drank a lot. And then- from that point on, I really don’t remember what happened. I woke up the next morning with bruises and I knew somethin’ wasn’t right,” she said.
The players are charged with violating two articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. One accuses them of making a false statement; the other is for rape and sexual assault.
The Naval Academy Investigative Services initially closed this case when the victim refused to cooperate. She later obtained a lawyer and came forward.
“NCIS reopened their investigation which is very uncommon,” said defense attorney Joseph Owens.
Owens, who specializes in military law, says with charges filed, the case goes to an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a grand jury.
“Let’s put witnesses on the stand and let’s see what they have to say and see if there’s enough evidence to go forward top an actual trial,” Owens said.
But this is just one of a string of military sex crimes that has lawmakers calling for change.
“You cannot afford to have someone assaulted in the military. It’s an assault on the whole country so the leadership has to do something,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.
The victim is ready for her day in court.
“These are serious situations that need to be addressed but I haven’t lost hope,” she said.
The Naval Academy has not identified the three football players. They also declined to comment, pending the ongoing investigation.
Two of the accused players are on longer on the team. A third has been suspended. At least one of them was not allowed to graduate this year.