Hearing in Naval Academy rape case concludes

Sept. 4, 2013 at 7:29 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- A hearing for three U.S. Naval Academy students accused of rape ended with prosecutors saying the victim couldn't consent and the defense calling her a liar.

In closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutors said the victim was too drunk to consent to having sex with the three former academy football players at an off-campus party in April 2012 in Annapolis, Md. Defense attorneys challenged the victim's credibility, saying she repeatedly lied about what happened, The Washington Post reported.

The female midshipman spent nearly 24 hours over five days on the stand, testifying she drank heavily that night and remembers little of what happened. She said she became aware that she may have been sexually assaulted after hearing rumors and seeing social media posts.

In the prosecution's closing statement, Lt. Cmdr. Phil Hamon said all three accused men -- Tra'ves Bush, Joshua Tate and Eric Graham -- admitted to investigators or to the accuser that they had sex with her that night.

Hamon also acknowledged that the case depends on how drunk the woman was, whether she was too inebriated to consent and whether the accused knew it.

Defense attorneys focused their closing statements on discrepancies in what the woman told investigators and argued that any sexual activity that could have occurred was consensual, the Post said.

"Virtually everything that came out of her mouth was a lie," said Andrew Weinstein, an attorney for Bush.

Lt. Cmdr. Angela Tang, an attorney for Graham, said, "People drink and people have sex and it's not a crime. And that's what this was."

The Article 32 hearing at the Washington Navy Yard is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding. The presiding officer will make a recommendation to the Naval Academy's superintendent on whether the case should go to a court-martial.

The Post, quoting a Naval Academy spokesman, said it could be more than a month before Cmdr. Robert Monahan Jr. makes his recommendation.

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