Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sexual Abuse in Naval Academy & The Importance Of Time

If those training to be the best and brightest in our military feel they have the right to sexually exploit American women, including their fellow cadets, why should they hesitate before raping girls who are seen as part of the enemy?


Three courts-martial over sex-related crimes at the Naval Academy _ including rape charges against the football team's star quarterback _ are set for this summer, as the school remains under pressure to reduce sexual assaults. Lamar Owens Jr., who led the Navy football team to an 8-4 record last fall, faces court-martial Monday at the Washington Navy Yard on charges of raping a fellow midshipman in her dorm room in January. Courts-martial are set for later this summer against another football player accused of indecent assault and an instructor who is accused of making crude sexual comments to a female student.


While the academy encourages reporting, there may still be a reluctance among midshipmen to report assaults. During a preliminary hearing for Owens, a friend of the accuser described the difficulty the woman faced over whether to report the incident, saying women who report men at the academy "get crucified" by their peers.

This sends the message that survival may depend on remaining silent when fellow soldiers and sailors are blatantly committing acts of violence. Rather than seeing the criminal as the problem, it sends the message that it is the person who upsets the status quo who must be brought into line with de facto military standards even if those standards are out of line with military law.

Washington Post (hat tip to Cooper)

The judge, Navy Cmdr. John A. Maksym, dismissed four potential jurors because of concerns about their objectivity or other reasons brought up in closed hearings. The defense struck four others, including a Navy commander who had served as an instructor for the female midshipman and a Marine colonel who is a senior officer at the academy. Defense attorney Reid H. Weingarten raised concerns that the colonel was "too close to authority" to be an objective juror. The judge raised concerns when the prosecution asked to dismiss the remaining African American prospective juror, a Navy commander, because she had been the victim of an armed robbery. Owens is African American. "I don't like the fact we don't have any African American members on the panel," Maksym said. But he granted the government's request, saying, "I don't have any suspicions they are doing this for racial reasons." The panel consists of four men and one woman.

The issue of race is important since the first Coast Guard Academy cadet court-martialed in the 130-year history was a black cadet, but I'm sure he wasn't the first cadet to commit a sex crime.

Baltimore Sun

The defense team presented an alternate version of events, questioning the credibility of the accuser and casting Owens as an outstanding midshipman who showed poor judgment in having consensual sex with the woman.


"He showed poor judgment when he went to that woman's room," Weingarten said. "But five minutes of poor judgment should not ruin his life."

What is it about the timing of the alleged rape that so fascinates defense attorneys and rape apologists? Kathleen Parker brought it up. So too did the defense attorney, Joseph Cavallo.

Are they trying to say to those considering rape, "Yes, go ahead and rape, but be quick about it."?

And isn't an admission of "poor judgment" code for "yeah, he did it, but so what?"

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:03 AM   0 comments links to this post


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