Naval Academy: Sexual Assault Not a Crime
Houston Chronicle
By BRIAN WITTE Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press
March 31, 2007

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Naval Academy probe into allegations of lewd behavior and heavy drinking on a Caribbean cruise found that up to 10 midshipmen acted "immature" but committed no crimes.

The findings were announced Friday. The investigation began after a passenger alleged that she and other women were groped on the Carnival cruise ship Glory during the academy's March 10-18 spring break. Some of the midshipmen also were accused of offering alcohol to teenage girls.

The investigation determined there were 37 midshipmen on the ship.

"The Naval Academy holds our midshipmen to extremely high standards and this type of inappropriate conduct is not tolerated," the academy said. "Any midshipmen who acted inappropriately will be held accountable and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken."

The investigation came as the naval academy has been trying to stop alcohol abuse and sexual impropriety following two sexual misconduct cases allegedly involving academy football players.

Deborah Goode, an academy spokeswoman, said the investigation would continue.

The preliminary review was based on statements from the midshipmen and other people on the cruise, the academy said. One woman on the cruise wrote an e-mail to the academy saying she and other women were groped.

"I was 'felt up' by one of the very drunk men and I was given the misfortune of watching them grab and disrespect every woman they could get close to as well as seeing them offer underage (15 and 17 year old) girls at our table alcohol," she wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by The (Baltimore) Sun, which first reported the story Tuesday.

In January 2006, star quarterback Lamar Owens Jr. was charged with raping a female midshipman. A jury found him not guilty of rape but convicted him of conduct unbecoming an officer and disobeying a lawful order. The academy's superintendent recommended Owens be dismissed despite his acquittal. Owens is appealing.

Another former football player, Kenny Ray Morrison, faces a general court-martial Monday on two counts of indecent assault and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for allegedly assaulting two female midshipmen during separate incidents last year.

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