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Judge Won’t Order Superintendent To Recuse Himself From Naval Academy Sex Assault Case

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Vice Adm. Michael Miller
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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) —A federal judge has issued a ruling in a lawsuit against the U.S. Naval Academy, which asked for the superintendent to recuse himself from a sexual assault case involving three Midshipmen.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the judge’s decision in this controversial case.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander said Monday she did not find grounds for the court to interfere in the separate military court proceeding.

Susan Burke, an attorney for the alleged victim in the case, sought to have the court remove Vice Adm. Michael Miller from deciding whether the case goes forward. She says Miller is angry at her client for making the case public and biased against her.

But Hollander noted that it would be unprecedented for the federal court to interfere with an ongoing Navy investigation in a separate court system.

Inside courtroom 5B of the United States federal courthouse, the attorneys for a female Midshipman — who says she was raped by three Navy football players — were hoping a judge would order the U.S. Naval Academy’s superintendent Miller to recuse himself.

The attorneys say Miller has openly expressed his anger and animosity against the victim publicly. They say his behavior would not grant their client a fair trial.

“I received a lot of hostility, not even from the attackers,” the victim said.

The victim says she was assaulted by her classmates, Travis Bush, Eric Graham and Josh Tade, at an office-campus house party last year and shared her horrific experience with CBS News.

“I was drinking. I drank a lot. From the point on I really don’t remember what happened. I woke up with bruises, and I knew something wasn’t right,” she said.

But her alleged assailants tell a different story, saying the sexcapade was consensual.

The victim’s attorneys wanted Miller removed from the case and replaced, saying he has already sided with the football players, but the judge says she doesn’t believe she has the authority to interfere with the military’s judicial system.

Hollander said intervening would be unprecedented.

And this isn’t over yet. On Wednesday, Vice Adm. Miller is expected to testify in court to determine if he is, in fact, biased. Other witnesses are also expected to testify at the hearing.

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