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Grand jury due to hear charges of rape against 2 midshipmen


An Anne Arundel County grand jury is likely to hear allegations today that two Naval Academy students raped a fellow midshipman and could hand up felony indictments as early as this afternoon against the two football players.

Police charged Cordrea Brittingham of Berlin and Arion Keith Williams of Detroit, both 21, with second-degree rape and sexual offenses. Police say the two athletes assaulted an intoxicated 20-year-old midshipman at an off-campus party in Arnold three weeks ago.

The home was being rented by the parents of another midshipman.

Brittingham and Williams were released on $50,000 bail and returned to the Naval Academy, where they are taking summer classes and attending football practice.

Academy spokeswoman Lt. Karen Armstrong said yesterday that the school has been able to comply with court orders that the two athletes not come into contact with the woman.

Even if Brittingham and Williams are found not guilty, the two will face an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the school, which could expel them.

Police said the athletes confessed when questioned, a statement that defense attorneys for both men dispute.

While investigators said the woman was "unconscious" and did not consent to the sexual activity, the men's attorneys have countered that she was not fully intoxicated and that she was a willing participant.

Warren A. Brown, Brittingham's lawyer, was hoping to ward off an indictment by having Brittingham testify before the grand jury, but by yesterday that prospect seemed remote.

Brown said he had not received an invitation from the prosecutor's office to bring his client forward.

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