Three U.S. Naval Academy football players will face charges in the alleged rape of a female midshipman in 2012, according to reports. Officials at the school, which is governed by military law, say they will send the case to Article 32 proceedings, which could then lead to a court-martial. A date has not been set for the hearings.
The case dates from April of 2012, when the female midshipman reported that she had been sexually assaulted by three men after she went to a party in Annapolis.
“The woman woke up after a night of heavy drinking and later learned from friends and social media that three football players claimed to have had sex with her while she was intoxicated,” reports The Capital Gazette, citing a statement from, Susan Burke, the woman’s attorney.
“Burke said her client reported the allegations to Navy criminal investigators,” the newspaper reports. “The athletes were permitted to continue playing football pending the outcome of the investigation.”
The Gazette and other media outlets report that the case was put on hold for a period of time, before being taken up again. The men have not been publicly identified, but the newspaper says that officials placed a hold on one of the men’s graduation in light of the investigation.
In recent weeks, the female midshipman’s mother spoke to The Washington Post about her daughter’s case and accused the Naval Academy of letting her daughter down.
“It’s like, to the academy, it never happened, and it was all brushed away,” she said.
In late May, the woman’s attorney said the midshipman had been “ostracized” on the academy’s campus. She also noted that the Navy reopened the investigation after the woman got legal help.
Days before the woman and her attorney took their case to the media in late May, President Obama gave the commencement address at the Naval Academy, using the occasion to speak out against sexual assaults.
The problem of sexual abuse has bedeviled military branches in the United States and elsewhere.
Frustration with charges of sexual assaults and sexist emails sent between officers led Australia’s army chief to deliver a fiery and forceful speech against such actions last week.