Current, former Navy football players charged in sex assault

Posted at 8:11 PM, Jun 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-19 20:29:36-04

(CNN) – One current and two former U.S. Naval Academy football players face rape and other charges stemming from an alleged attack on a female midshipman, the Navy said.

The charges grew out of a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe of allegations by the woman that she was assaulted after attending a party last year.

The results were then reviewed by the academy’s superintendent, Vice Adm. Michael Miller, who decided to formally file charges under military law.

Naval Academy spokesman John Schofield said the case is in the pretrial phase so any further comment would not be appropriate.

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The unidentified suspects all had been members of the Navy football team, but only one remains on the squad and he’s been suspended.

The charges allege the men violated two articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Article 107 involves making a false official statement and Article 120 involves rape, sex assault and other sexual misconduct.

In a previous statement to CNN, the alleged victim’s attorney Susan Burke said the woman went to an off-campus party at a “football house” in April 2012, became intoxicated and woke up there the next morning “with little recall” of what had occurred.

“She learned from social media and from friends that three football players had claimed to have had sexual intercourse with her while incapacitated,” Burke said of her client.

She reported the incident to Navy authorities and explained that she could not provide much information because she had been intoxicated, Burke said.

Burke said the woman was disciplined for drinking, and the case was closed without further action by the academy. The woman revived the allegations this year, and the case was reopened.

The allegations come amid mounting concern about sex abuse reports in the armed forces.

Recent figures show an increased rate of reported assaults. Recent high-profile cases have involved officers in the Air Force and the Army.

The Naval academy had a combined 51 reports of unwanted sexual contact over the past three academic years, figures show. Unwanted sexual contact describes a range of behaviors from unwanted sexual touching to rape.