Naval Academy Professor Charged With Raping Midshipman
Maj. Mark A. Thompson, 43, is accused of assaulting a female midshipman at his apartment after the the 2011 croquet match.
UPDATE: (3:45 p.m.)—A professor at the U.S. Naval Academy has been charged with sexually assaulting a student in his Annapolis apartment after the 2011 croquet match between the academy and St. John's College.
Maj. Mark A. Thompson, 43, is undergoing an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a grand jury hearing, at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC, according to Military.com—a military news outlet.
He faces three charges, including two specifications of aggravated sexual assault and indecent acts; three specifications of conduct unbecoming an officer; and two specifications of fraternization.
At the hearing on Tuesday, Sarah Stadler, an academy graduate and friend of the victim, testified to having a sexual relationship with Thompson while she was a student. According to Military.com, she claims she spent the day of the croquet match drinking with the friend and fellow midshipman that ended with the pair playing strip poker at Thompson's apartment.
The annual croquet match between the schools has occurred every spring for the last 30 years. The match draws hundreds of spectators from Annapolis and surrounding areas.
St. John's prohibited visitors from bringing alcohol to its campus for the 2012 croquet match, but in 2011 people were still allowed to bring their own.
Stadler testified that she and the victim brought their own alcohol to the match. They then drank more at El Toro Bravo, a Mexican restaurant on West Street before heading to Thompson's apartment, according to Military.com.
Stadler admitted to having sex with Thompson that night, and testified that the victim was in bed with them, but she was not sure if Thompson slept with the victim as well.
Thompson was a history professor and the officer representative for the academy's rifle team. Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the academy, said Thompson is still assigned to the school but he was removed from duties that would bring him into contact with students.
At the end of the Article 32 hearing, the investigating officer will make a recommendation to Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller on what, if any, charges Thompson should face.
Marks said that decision would likely made within the next two weeks. If charges are brought, Thompson will face a court-martial in Washington DC sometime in the next two to three months.
The maximum penalty for aggravated sexual assault under the Uniform Code of Military Justice is the death penalty.
To read the full account of Stadler's testimony, click here.