Midshipman Joshua Tate, a junior from Nashville, Tennessee, is the
only one to be court-martialed among three Academy football players
initially accused of assaulting the woman while she was passed out
at an alcohol-fueled party in April 2012.
At a hearing on Friday at Washington's Navy Yard, Tate opted for
trial by a judge rather than a jury. He is accused of aggravated
sexual assault and making false official statements.
Opening arguments were scheduled for Monday, but were delayed
because of snow that shut down federal offices.
The woman testified at an Article 32 hearing, held to determine
whether a trial was warranted, that she drank heavily at the party
and remembered little of what took place. Reuters does not generally
report the names of sexual assault victims.
The woman, now a senior at the elite service academy in Annapolis,
Maryland, did not cooperate with an initial investigation into the
charges and was disciplined for drinking. Charges against the other
two men were dropped.
The court-martial comes three months after the Defense Department
said there were slightly more than 5,000 reports of sexual assaults
across the armed forces in the fiscal year ending in October, up
about 50 percent from the year before.
President Barack Obama in December approved reforms aimed at
stemming the crisis. He urged graduating USNA officers in May to
stamp out sexual assault in their ranks.
[to top of second column]
Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Michael Miller denied in a
January hearing that he was under pressure to go ahead with
prosecution of the sexual assault cases even though his legal
counsel and a military judge had advised him not to proceed.
In the most recent high-profile military sexual assault case, Army
Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair was cleared of sexual assault
charges on Monday but admitted mistreating a junior officer during
their illicit relationship.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; editing by Andrew Hay)
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