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Prosecutors see 'motive' in Navy doctor case

The Baltimore Sun

A Navy physician's home computer stored gay pornography in a folder titled "lectures" -- the label of one of the sex videos of Naval Academy midshipmen that the doctor is accused of secretly recording, a computer specialist testified yesterday.

The file on Navy Cmdr. Kevin Ronan's computer contained pictures of young shirtless men and more than 2,000 still frames from gay pornographic movies, said Michael Wavada, a specialist with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Washington.

Prosecutors in Ronan's court-martial at the Washington Navy Yard said the folder not only provides a "motive" for the doctor to secretly tape the midshipmen -- a sexual desire for young men -- but also provides a link between Ronan and at least one of the discs allegedly found at the physician's Annapolis home.

The testimony came on the final day of the prosecution's case against Ronan, who is charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, illegal wiretapping and obstruction of justice.

In an interview after yesterday's session, defense attorney William Ferris accused prosecutors of introducing the gay pornography to "prejudice" the jury and obscure the fact that they had nothing directly linking Ronan to secretly taping the midshipmen.

The defense attorneys have denied that Ronan, who used to host midshipmen on weekends as part of a Naval Academy sponsor program, had anything to do with the sex videos of midshipmen.

Defense attorneys say the videos were made to blackmail the doctor and likely were made by one or both of the midshipmen who prosecutors say found the videos in Ronan's home in January.

While it is unclear when the midshipmen sex videos were recorded, Wavada testified that computer data shows the videos were burned onto the three DVDs in May and June of 2006. Prosecutors have noted that the two midshipmen Ronan accuses of trying to extort him were out of town on Naval Academy business when the DVDs were burned.

Wavada's testimony came a day after a handwriting expert testified that the labels on one of the discs, including the word "Lectures," was written by Ronan, and that it was "highly probable" he wrote the labels on two others.

After Wavada testified, Ferris unsuccessfully moved for the presiding judge, Marine Col. Steven F. Day, to dismiss all charges.

Ferris said he expects to call more witnesses Monday and for Ronan to take the stand Tuesday.


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