While the U.S. Naval Academy and Anne Arundel County Police continued yesterday to investigate the rape of a female midshipman at a party late last week, tourists and residents of Annapolis said they were saddened, but not surprised, by the allegations that two male classmates may have been involved.
"There seems like there's been things like that happening at a lot of schools, not just the academy," said John Timmer, 22, of Wilmington, Del., while eating a bagel on the City Dock. "They should just deal with it fairly with all the parties."
Charges had not been filed as of yesterday evening, said Joseph E. Jordan, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County police. Police are working with the state's attorney's office to determine what charges should be filed - a routine procedure because of the delicate nature of sex offenses.
The two male students, both football players and, according to sources familiar with the investigation, juniors, have been placed under the supervision of Naval Academy personnel on school grounds in Annapolis, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Cmdr. Mike Brady, a spokesman for the academy, declined to comment yesterday.
The investigation comes just as academy officials believed their school had restored its integrity after several years of scandals involving students, ranging from misbehavior to ethical infractions to criminal activity.
Dennis Rensel, 50, who had stopped in Annapolis with his wife and daughter for lunch on their way home from Delaware to Reston, Va., said that he wasn't shocked by the news.
Although midshipmen live with stricter rules than their peers at other colleges, they are young adults, Rensel said.
Dick Eibel, 64, who has lived in Annapolis since 1963, said, "People their age are very young and their hormones are working."
Eibel, who had brought his family downtown for the day, said people should understand that the midshipmen are young and will make mistakes.
"Every scandal hurts," Eibel said. "But, everybody here is very proud of the academy and the midshipmen."
According to police and sources familiar with the investigation, there was a "heavy drinking" party at a home in Arnold Friday attended by 11 people, including some midshipmen. Witnesses reportedly saw two people running from a room where the victim was resting.
A rape was reported at 2:02 a.m. Friday by employees of North Arundel Hospital in Glen Burnie, where the victim had checked herself in a short time earlier. She was treated and released. The Sun does not publish the names of rape victims.
Police said two midshipmen were the focus of their investigation. Kristin Riggin, a spokesman for county State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, said yesterday that members of the sex offense trial team will meet with county police detectives early this week to review the evidence and "determine a course of action."
Willie Taylor, of Annapolis, said the school should take the matter very seriously.
"They are trying to clean up their image from the past couple of years and to have this happen doesn't help," the 27-year-old said while sitting outside Market House downtown. "It makes it look like they say one thing and do something else."