U.S. Navy Football via AP
Midshipmens Tra'ves Bush, Eric Graham and Josh Tate. A hearing has begun to determine whether the three men will face a court-martial on charges that they sexually assaulted a female midshipman.
WASHINGTON — The so-called "battle buddy" of the woman who accused three Naval Academy midshipmen of sexual assaulting her at a party testified Monday that she told him the day after the alleged attack: "What I did last night, I did it and I wanted to do it."
The accuser's friend, Midshipman Kenyon Williams, also testified that she did not appear drunk at the party. At least 12 midshipmen, all of whom had been at the party, said at the preliminary military hearing at Washington's Naval Yards that the woman did not appear drunk to the point of incapacitation, although many said it was obvious that she had been consuming alcohol.
The three former Naval Academy football players are charged with varying degrees of sexual assault and making false official statements in connection with the April 14, 2012, incident.
The woman now contends the three men had non-consensual sex with her but says she has no recollection of the alleged attacks because she had blacked out from too much alcohol.
The Article 32 hearing — which is akin to a civilian grand jury — will determine if the case proceeds to a court-martial.
Williams, testifying under cross-examination, said he did not ask the accuser what she meant when she told him she had done something the night before.
He said he left the party without the woman — who in her testimony called Williams her "battle buddy" — and spent the night at a friend's house. He said that if he'd thought she was incapacitated, he would have made sure she got home.
Instead, she slept on the couch at the party house. He said he only learned from the Naval Crime Investigative Service two weeks later that she was filing charges.
Three midshipmen, former football players Tra’ves Bush, Eric Graham and Joshua Tate, were charged with sexual assault as well as making false statements to official investigators.
At least 12 midshipmen who had been at the party testified that the woman did not appear drunk to the point of incapacitation, although many said it was obvious that she had been consuming alcohol.
Candice Tisdale, a close friend of the alleged victim, said that the woman had seemed “happy and excited” and that the two had had a conversation around 1 a.m., during which Tisdale said the woman was stumbling slightly but not slurring her words.
Other midshipmen provided accounts of the accuser’s behavior earlier in the night, when she appeared to be acting no different than any of the other approximately 100 partygoers.
Tisdale also said the two women began monitoring rumors that began to spread on social media after the party, and referred to the woman having sex with multiple men at the so-called Football House.
Tisdale said that she and the woman made a list of men at the party with whom the woman might have had sex. Tisdale said they “concluded” the woman had in fact had consensual sex with Bush that night because the two had interacted earlier in the night, when the woman was more sober, and because the woman had had a previous sexual relationship with Bush.
Bush was still charged with sexual assault because the woman did not indicate to investigators that any sex they had was consensual.
A friend and former teammate of the three accused, Ryan Williams, said that Tate told him that the woman was “a liar” and that the two of them had “fooled around.” Williams said Tate did not say whether he and the woman had sex that night or on previous occasions.
Williams said he also asked the woman about the rumors, to which he said she responded, “I’m not proud of what I did.” The woman did not expand on that comment, but Williams said he took that as a reference to “having sex with multiple people” the night of the party.
Another midshipman, Jasmine Searjent, testified that the accuser told her the next day that she would probably hear a lot of "rumors" about her behavior the previous night. At the party, the accuser seemed "giddy" and was slurring her words but appeared to be in control of her actions shortly after midnight, Searjent said.
Previously, Midshipman Christa Kamon, another close friend of the woman, said she looked "obviously drunk" at the party because she was slurring and fell while dancing.
Midshipman Mitchell Kempitsky testified that he saw the woman around 2 a.m. and said she was trying to rebuff the advances of a man trying to hit on her. She was making witty comments, Kempitsky said, and seemed capable of consenting "to whatever she wanted to."
In previous testimony, the woman also said that she vaguely remembered sitting in a car with Graham and Tate at one point in the night. One midshipman, Brice Musgrove, testified Monday that he had seen the woman near a car in the house’s driveway that night, in the vicinity of Graham and Tate, but could not confirm whether she had actually been in the car with either of them.
People inside the house made jokes that night about the woman and Tate having sex in the car, noted Midshipman Marcus Thomas, but no one who testified Monday could with any confidence place any of the three – the woman, Graham or Tate – in the car.
Counsel for the accused and the government will call more Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agents to the witness stand on Tuesday.
First published September 2 2013, 2:00 PM