U.S. Naval midshipman says she needed to talk about rape case

WASHINGTON Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:22pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A female midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, who military prosecutors contend was raped by three men in 2012 while intoxicated, said under cross-examination on Friday that she had gone to the media with her story because she felt a need to talk about the experience.

The woman, now a senior at the elite service academy in Annapolis, Maryland, denied defense attorneys' suggestion that an anti-Navy agenda prompted her to speak out on CNN and in an interview with The New York Times.

Friday marked her third day on the witness stand during a preliminary hearing to determine whether the three former members of the academy's football team accused of raping her will face a full court-martial.

The men - Tra'ves Bush, 22; Eric Graham, 21; and Joshua Tate, 21 - are accused of sexually assaulting her last year while she was passed out after drinking at an off-campus party.

The hearing follows a spate of high-profile military sexual assault cases, including some involving personnel whose job it was to prevent sexual abuse.

The woman was questioned repeatedly about her motives for speaking to media outlets in recent months.

"I had been quiet for so long, I was ready to tell everything that I could," she said. "When the media came to me, I literally just wanted to tell my story - my experience."

In 2012, during the early stages of the investigation, the woman said she didn't want the case to go forward and had not been cooperating with investigators.

A day earlier, Bush's attorneys played a recorded conversation between Tate and the woman in which she asked him to lie about the crime because she did not "want this to go anywhere."

The woman, who was a 20-year-old sophomore at the time of the alleged incident, has testified that she did not want to get anyone in trouble.

She has said she feared her mother would force her to leave the highly selective school, which educates Navy and Marine officers. Students are known as midshipmen.

Reuters generally does not report the names of sexual assault victims.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (7)
Joeybumpalump wrote:
Anyway you cut it, all four of them should be booted out for “Conduct Unbecoming Of a United States Naval Officer.”

Aug 30, 2013 9:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
COindependent wrote:
In the interest of fairness, why would Reuters not report the name of accuser, but have no inhibitions of reporting the names of the accused?

If the accused are then acquitted, they names will be tarnished in society for the balance of their lives, while the accused gets a free pass.

Aug 30, 2013 10:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
I figured both the Victim and the Suspects would be a bunch of Obama-voters… Sociopath hip-hoppers and an Obama-mama…

All four of them really got themselves into a doozy with THIS one… Just waiting to see who blames it on racism or conservative gun-laws first…

Aug 30, 2013 10:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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