Former Naval Academy instructor sentenced to 60 days

A former instructor at the Naval Academy was sentenced Monday to 60 days in a military jail for indecent acts, fraternization and conduct unbecoming an officer stemming from an incident with two female midshipmen in 2011, an academy spokeswoman said.

Marine Corps Maj. Mark Thompson, 43, was also fined $2,500 per month for two years — for a total of $60,000 — and issued a reprimand, a punitive letter that now becomes part of his permanent record, spokeswoman Jenny Erickson said.

Thompson was acquitted last week of aggravated sexual assault, the most serious charge against him in a court-martial at the Navy Yard in Washington.

The former history instructor had been accused of assaulting a female midshipman in his Annapolis apartment following the annual croquet match between the academy and St. John's College in April 2011.

The report of the court-martial now will be forwarded to Vice Adm. Michael Miller, the academy superintendent, for review and a final decision.

Thompson's confinement was to begin immediately, Erickson said. He was to be held at a military jail in Chesapeake, Va.

Erickson said it would be inappropriate to comment further on what she described as "an ongoing legal matter."

Military leaders are grappling with rising reports of sexual assaults within the ranks. President Barack Obama raised the issue last month during his commencement address at the academy.

"Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong," he told the Class of 2013. "That's why we have to be determined to stop these crimes, because they've got no place in the greatest military on Earth."

Based on surveys, the Pentagon estimated last month that as many as 26,000 service members across the military were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19,000 the year before.

The number of incidents reported to authorities rose to 3,374, up 6 percent from the year before.

In the Thompson case, two female midshipmen said they visited Thompson's apartment after drinking during and after the croquet match April 30, 2011, according to news coverage of a preliminary hearing.

One of the women testified that the trio played strip poker, and that she had sex with Thompson, the news website reported. The other woman said she was sexually assaulted.

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