Accuser in Naval Academy gang rape given day off from testimony

Aug. 31, 2013 at 5:06 PM

PORTSMOUTH, Va., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman has been given a day off from cross-examination by lawyers for three Navy football players she accused of raping her.

She has gone through 20 hours of intensive and often combative questioning during what is known as an Article 32 hearing, to determine whether the players will face a court-martial, the military equivalent of a trial.

Saying she was exhausted Saturday after three marathon days of testimony, the woman -- whose name has not been reported -- told the presiding officer at the hearing, Cmdr. Robert P. Monahan Jr., she was at the point of offering compromising answers just to get off the witness stand.

Monahan granted her Saturday off from testimony.

Defense lawyers for the three students blasted the woman's claims, saying she was only "sitting in a chair" -- and accusing her of wanting the day off so she collude with other witnesses in the case to fine-tune her testimony.

"What was she going to be doing anyway? Something more strenuous than sitting in a chair. We don't concede there's been any stress involved," said Ronald "Chip" Herrington, defense attorney for one of the accused, Eric Graham, a cornerback on the Navy squad.

The accuser's attorney, Susan Burke, said defense attorneys' conduct "Is borderline abusive," The Washington Post reported.

Also charged in the case are linebacker Joshua Tate and safety Tra'ves Bush.

Allegations against the three were initially dropped in January for lack of evidence but the case was reopened when the victim agreed to cooperate fully, the Post said.

Testimony in the hearing is set to resume Sunday.

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