Judge dismisses lawsuit related to Naval Academy assault

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Naval Academy midshipmen who sought the removal of the academy's superintendent in a sexual assault case involving her classmates.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander granted the Navy's motion to dismiss the case last week. The female midshipman who brought the lawsuit did not object.

The midshipman had argued that the superintendent, Vice Adm. Michael Miller, was biased and shouldn't be allowed to decide whether to prosecute three midshipmen, all former football players, who were accused of sexual assault at an off-campus party in April 2012. The midshipman argued Miller is a supporter of the football team and worried about the academy's reputation and his own career.

In the military's justice system, commanding officers have the authority to decide when to prosecute criminal cases.

Hollander previously denied an injunction in the case, saying she lacked jurisdiction to interfere in the military's justice system. She indicated she would dismiss the case.

Hollander also denied a request from one of the accused midshipmen who wanted to join the case. Midshipman Joshua Tate argued Miller is under pressure to prosecute the cases, given recent attention to sexual assault in the military.

Miller referred two of the three midshipmen to court martial: Tate is charged with aggravated sexual assault and making false official statements and Eric Graham is charged with abusive sexual contact.

Charges were not brought against Midshipmen Tra'ves Bush.



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