Naval Academy files sexual assault charges against 3 football players

By Chris Huston | College Football Writer

Three Navy players are facing sexual assault charges. (USTASI)
Three Navy football players are facing sexual assault charges. (USATSI)

The Naval Academy has filed sexual assault charges against three football players for an alleged 2012 incident involving a female midshipman, the Academy announced Wednesday.

The Academy confirmed that the unnamed players will face an Article 32 hearing, a U.S. Code of Military Justice process similar to a pretrial hearing in civilian law.

The incident was alleged to have occurred in April of last year at an off-campus property known as the "football house." The alleged victim reported the incident to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service shortly afterward. The NCIS conducted an investigation that closed during the 2012 football season but did not result in charges.

The three players remained with the team, and the alleged victim took on the services of a lawyer, who was surprised the case was closed given the evidence collected. The lawyer, Susan Burke, noted there was "substantial evidence, including an admission from one player and social media postings memorializing what had occurred."

According to Burke, the victim 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.

According to The Capital Gazette, all of the individuals being charged were members of the football team during the 2012 season. One, who is entering his junior year, left the team after spring practice. Another was expected to be a member of the team during the 2013 season.

The third player was set to graduate in May, but his graduation has "been put on hold due to the allegations," according to The Capital Gazette.

The NCIS re-opened the case this past February and has since completed it, which led to the decision to file assault charges.

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