Anne Arundel County

Snow postpones Naval Academy sexual assault case

Opening statements in the case of a Naval Academy midshipman charged with sexually assaulting a classmate were delayed by Monday's snowstorm.

The federal government closed in the Washington area on Monday, including the Washington Navy Yard where the court-martial is taking place.


Midshipman Joshua Tate of Nashville is charged with aggravated sexual assault and making false statements. On Friday, he chose to be tried by a judge rather than a jury of Navy and Marine Corps officers.

The charges stem from an off-campus party in April 2012.


The alleged victim has testified that she drank heavily that night and does not recall much about the party. After the party, she learned she may have been assaulted through rumors and social media, she has testified.

The Baltimore Sun does not name victims of alleged sexual assaults.

Opening statements are now scheduled to begin Tuesday morning, according to the Naval Academy.

The court-martial could last through the week. The alleged victim and several midshipmen are expected to testify, as are experts who will discuss whether the victim was "substantially incapacitated" and unable to consent to sexual activity.

Tate is one of three midshipmen initially accused in the case. Charges were not pursued against one midshipman who has graduated and is now an ensign in the Navy. Charges were dropped against another midshipman who is withdrawing from the academy.

Tate's case opens as another high-profile military sexual assault case involving an Army general concludes with a plea deal.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, on trial at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, reached a deal over the weekend to plead guilty to lesser charges, Reuters reported.