The female midshipman who has accused three former Naval Academy football players of sexually assaulting her is now suing the academy and its superintendent, arguing that he must remove himself from the case.
The attorney for Midshipman "Doe" said today that Vice Admiral Michael Miller, superintendent of the academy, personally intervened in the case out of concern for his self-interest. Susan Burke said that Miller was actively intending to retaliate against her client for that fact that she had harmed the Naval Academy and him.
In fact, Burke argues that Miller created an environment at the academy that was not conducive to reporting sexual assaults, and that her client was "encouraged not to report."
An Article 32 hearing ended Tuesday after eight days of testimony to determine whether or not a court-martial should be convened against the three accused midshipmen. The investigating officer will issue a report and recommendation on how the hearing's convening authority, in this case Miller, should proceed.
The investigating officer's recommendation is nonbinding, and Miller will ultimately have the option to refer the case to a court-martial, deal with the case through academy administration or dismiss the case entirely.
Burke said that since the Article 32 proceedings began, Miller has been "on notice" that Midshipman Doe was facing retaliation and harassment, but he failed to do anything to help.
Burke said that Miller did not stop the defense strategy to exhaust her client with long hours of "prolonged and extremely abusive cross-examination," and that her repeated requests to have a normal trial day were ignored.
The lawsuit calls upon Miller to recuse himself from what Burke called, this "quasi-judicial proceeding."
She said that her client is now shunned by "all" of her fellow midshipmen on campus.
"You don't do anything to hurt the Naval Academy's reputation," Burke said.
Burke said this lawsuit aims to protect the rights of victims of sexual abuse in the military and in the service academies, as well as the right to testify and come forward without fear of reprisal and retribution.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maryland.
NBC News' Ali Weinberg contributed to this report.
First published September 5 2013, 11:05 AM