The Naval Academy, which has been stung by a number of high-profile sexual assault and misconduct cases in recent years, announced yesterday charges against two more midshipmen, one of whom is accused of raping a classmate in an academy dorm.
Junior Mark A. Calvanico has been charged with rape, indecent assault, indecent acts and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to a news release issued by the academy yesterday. In addition, an academy spokeswoman said, Calvanico is charged with unlawfully breaking and entering with the intent to commit rape, and unauthorized absence.
Academy officials said the offenses for which Calvanico is charged occurred Oct. 14.
In an unrelated case, Midshipman First Class Michael S. Pollard, a senior, has been charged with receiving, possessing and attempting to distribute child pornography stored on computer equipment at Bancroft Hall. An academy spokeswoman said Pollard also has been charged with making a false official statement and obstruction of justice.
The offenses he is accused of took place between July 2003 and August 2007, the news release said.
The charges in both cases followed investigations by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
"As this is an ongoing case, specific details of the case cannot be released," the academy said in its news releases.
The academy is trying to rid itself of the stigma surrounding a string of complaints involving sexual harassment and assaults. The most recent charges are the first major sexual misconduct cases brought under the new superintendent, Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler.
In the military system, commanding officers such as Fowler decide whether cases go to trial.
The academy has scheduled Article 32 hearings, which are similar to grand jury proceedings, for March 24 for Pollard and March 28 for Calvanico. The military officer who hears evidence will make a recommendation to Fowler on whether the cases should proceed to court-martial.
Academy officials declined to comment on the status of the two midshipmen, including whether they remain on the campus.
An academy spokesman said last fall that the alleged victim in an Oct. 14 incident had been assigned an advocate and had been offered "support, counseling and medical assistance."
Fowler's predecessor, Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, stressed a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault and harassment during his four-year tenure as superintendent.
Recent high-profile cases include those of:
Former Navy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr., who was acquitted of rape in July 2006 but found guilty of two lesser charges, including conduct unbecoming an officer, for having sex with a female midshipman in the academy dorm. He was expelled and ordered to repay more than $90,000 in education costs.
Kenny Ray Morrison, a backup football player who was sentenced in April to two years in a military prison for having sex with a female midshipman without her consent in a Washington hotel room in February 2006.
Cmdr. Kevin J. Ronan, a Navy physician who was sentenced in November to nearly four years behind bars after a military jury found he had secretly recorded midshipmen having sex in his Annapolis home. He was dismissed from the Navy and stripped of his government pension.
Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Matthew Lee, a Roman Catholic Navy chaplain, who was sentenced in December to two years in prison after admitting that he forced himself on a midshipman, coerced a Marine he was counseling to take nude photos of him and had sex with an Air Force officer without disclosing that he was HIV-positive. Lee, 42, pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including aggravated assault, fraternization, forcible sodomy, conduct unbecoming an officer and wrongful use of his government computer, as part of a plea agreement.
Last fall, in the midst of those cases, the academy introduced mandatory seminars intended to increase sensitivity to sexual harassment and assaults. Mids receive lessons on dating, sexual consent, defining rape and violence prevention.
In December, studies, including one released by the Department of Defense, found that misconduct incidents had dropped at the academy and that a "macho" culture was beginning to give way to more tolerance and self-policing.
The Defense Department report found a major decline in the number of sexual-assault accusations at the academy during the 2006-2007 academic year. Midshipmen reported five incidents of sexual assault, which includes rape, forcible sodomy, indecent assault and unwanted sexual contact. That compares with 12 the previous year and 17 the year before that.