Superintendent Urged To Quit Second Rape Case




 
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December 22nd, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Superintendent Urged To Quit Second Rape Case


Washington Post
December 21, 2006
Pg. B2

By Raymond McCaffrey, Washington Post Staff Writer
The attorney for a former Navy football player accused of drugging and raping two female midshipmen said yesterday that the U.S. Naval Academy superintendent should remove himself from the case as he did in a similar high-profile case.
William M. Ferris, the attorney for Midshipman Kenny Ray Morrison, said he planned to ask Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt to do what he did after allegations of pro-prosecution bias arose in the rape case of former Navy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr.
"The reasons he has recused himself from the Owens case should be applied here," Ferris said.
Ferris's remarks came after a hearing during which an expert from a French laboratory testified by phone that follow-up tests did not find traces of the date-rape drug GHB in the hair of Morrison's two accusers. The findings appear to undercut charges that Morrison, 24, drugged the women.
Rempt has been under fire for what some alumni consider an overzealous approach to prosecuting sexual assault cases amid increased scrutiny of the issue by Congress.
On Monday, Vice Adm. Paul E. Sullivan, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, was assigned to consider the case against Owens, a Navy spokeswoman said. Owens, 23, was cleared by a jury of rape but convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and violating a military protective order. The conviction must be affirmed or rejected by a convening authority, usually the command that brought the charges.
On Friday, the academy said in a statement that although allegations of bias were "untrue," Rempt has removed himself as the convening authority. The statement did not say whether he would remove himself from the administrative decision on Owens's future in the Navy.
Yesterday's hearing in the Morrison case was to determine whether there is probable cause for the linebacker to face a court-martial.
At a November hearing, prosecutors said GHB was found in hair samples of the two women who accused Morrison of raping them on separate occasions this year. But the French lab's representative said yesterday that follow-up tests did not indicate exposure to the drug.
Prosecutors are asking the investigating officer to consider testimony given by the women, results of previous GHB tests and evidence of DNA from Morrison found during an examination of one woman.
Ferris, urging the Navy to drop the case, focused on allegations that Morrison administered the date rape drug. "The government's own evidence destroys that case," Ferris said.
 


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