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Hearing Begins For Naval Academy Football Players Accused Of Sex Assault

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Meghan McCorkell 370x278 Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Facing a judge. Three Navy football players are in military court, accused of raping a female midshipman at a 2012 off-campus party and then lying about it.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the ongoing hearing.

Tra’ves Bush, Eric Graham and Josh Tate are accused of sexually assaulting a fellow midshipman. The victim says it happened at an off-campus house party in 2012. She spoke out to CBS News.

“I was drinking. I drank a lot and then from that part on, I don’t really remember what happened. I woke up the next morning with bruises and I knew something wasn’t right,” she said.

The victim’s lawyer says she found out what happened from friends and social media.

“Apparently three football players were claiming that they had sexual intercourse with her as she was intoxicated,” said attorney Susan Burke.

When the victim reported the attack, her lawyer says she was reprimanded for drinking while the players went unpunished. The case was reopened when the victim obtained a lawyer. The allegations come after a startling Pentagon survey revealed 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted last year.

President Barack Obama addressed the issue at the Naval Academy graduation.

“Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong,” said Obama.

Naval Academy officials have since incorporated more sexual assault prevention into the curriculum.

“This summer, the class of 2017 has been through four phases of sexual assault prevention and training already,” said U.S. Naval Academy Commander Lyn Hammer.

Meanwhile, the fate of these three players now rests in the hands of a judge.

Much of Tuesday’s hearing was held behind closed doors. The judge is expected to reconvene the hearing later Tuesday night.

The judge will release a report to the superintendent of the Naval Academy, who will then decide whether to send the case to court-martial, order other sanctions or dismiss the charges altogether.

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