U.S. Naval Academy investigating three football players for sexual assault

The academy is investigating allegations that three members of its football team assaulted a female student

Published May 31, 2013 5:00PM (EDT)


The U.S. Naval Academy is currently investigating allegations that three members of its football team sexually assaulted a female student at an off-campus party last year, the Pentagon said on Friday.

"She woke up at the football house the next morning with little recall of what had occurred. She learned from friends and social media that three football players were claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was incapacitated," Susan Burke, the woman's attorney, said in a statement. The woman reported the alleged assault but was pressured by members of the football team not to cooperate with the initial investigation, according to Burke. While no charges were filed after the initial investigation, the woman was disciplined for consuming alcohol.

In early 2013, the woman sought additional legal counsel and the Navy re-opened the case. "Over time, the midshipman [student] began to recover from the trauma, and became angered at the lack of justice and retaliation in her case," Burke said.

The case comes only weeks after the release of a Pentagon report documenting rampant sexual assault in the military, as well as gross failures by military leadership to hold perpetrators accountable. It is also the latest in a string of recent allegations against servicemembers, including sexual battery charges against a sexual assault prevention officer in Virginia.

The Naval Academy is monitoring the progress of the investigation, but would not comment on details, said academy spokesman John Schofield: "It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation or any ongoing investigation as we risk compromising the military justice process."

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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