Academy may expel 2 in cheating scandal for drunken driving


Two midshipmen who were punished rather than expelled for their part in the U.S. Naval Academy's largest cheating scandal may be thrown out of school after getting arrested on drunken-driving charges, academy officials said.

Officials told the academy's advisory Board of Visitors yesterday in Washington that the two men left their dorm last month after a bed check, went into Annapolis to drink with friends and were arrested by state police on Interstate 97 after swerving over lane markers. Capt. John B. Padgett, commandant of midshipmen, said the pair "egregiously violated" the terms of their probation, which prohibited use of a car and included early bedtime.

The two midshipmen were recommended for expulsion by both the commandant and the superintendent, Rear Admiral Thomas C. Lynch, and are awaiting final action by top Navy officials.

Should the two be expelled by Navy Secretary John H. Dalton, they may have to repay education costs totaling $80,000, Captain Padgett said.

Although the 24 midshipmen expelled for their part in the cheating scandal received a waiver from the Navy for education paybacks, these two students will be expelled for other reasons, he explained.

The two midshipmen were among 59 who received punishment short of separation for their part in the scandal involving an electrical engineering exam. The 59 had to retake EE311 and complete a remedial honor program before receiving their diplomas and commissions.

Two graduations already have been held, with another slated for tomorrow and the final one on Aug. 17.

The Board of Visitors also met with Adm. Charles Larson, the former commander in chief of Pacific forces who will become academy superintendent Monday.

"Character development is my primary task," said Admiral Larson, a 1958 academy graduate who served as superintendent from 1983 to 1986. He told the board there is some "hard work ahead" in pushing a comprehensive character development plan for the academy.

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