The campus of US Naval Academy is seen in Annapolis, Maryland.(AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON/Getty Images)
Three Navy midshipmen accused of sexually assaulting a female midshipman while she was unconscious were charged with rape, sexual assault and other sexual misconduct Wednesday, a Naval Academy news release said.
The academy confirmed one of the accused is a current member of the football team and has been suspended throughout the investigation. It would not say whether the others facing charges had played for the team in prior seasons. The Associated Press reported that the others were football players but are no longer on the team.
The midshipmen were also charged with making a false official statement.
The academy announced earlier this week that the case will proceed to an Article 32 hearing at the Washington Navy Yard. The names of the accused are not being released by the academy until that hearing. Wednesday's release did not include a hearing date.
An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing. It is used to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a court-martial.
The female mid alleges she went to an off-campus party at the "football house" in April 2012 and became so intoxicated that she blacked out, said her attorney, Susan Burke.
"She learned from friends and social media that three football players were claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was incapacitated," Burke said in a statement.
After reporting the alleged incident to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the alleged victim was disciplined for drinking, but the three men faced no consequences and the investigation was closed, Burke said. Burke alleged one of the accused men told the alleged victim not to cooperate with NCIS and that the academy closed the investigation in 2012, citing the alleged victim's unwillingness to cooperate.
The alleged victim reached out to Burke in early 2013 for help pursuing the case and the academy reopened the investigation, Burke said.