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Attorney seeks records in USNA sexual assault case

ANNAPOLIS — An attorney for the woman at the center of a sexual assault case involving two U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen is asking the academy’s superintendent to release records from court proceedings.

Ryan Guilds sent an email on Tuesday to Vice Adm. Michael Miller, who is the convening authority in the case, noting it would not be an issue to obtain similar documents from a civilian court.

Naval Academy Sexual Assault

This May 10, 2007 file photo shows the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Kathleen Lange, File)

Guilds has asked for an investigating officer’s report that recommended against court-martialing the defendants. The officer’s 171-page report, obtained by The Associated Press last month, cited credibility issues with the case due to the woman’s testimony and statements at an Article 32 hearing this summer that was held to help determine whether the case proceeded to court-martial.

Miller referred two of three students to courts-martial despite the recommendation.

The woman, a midshipman herself, has testified she was drinking heavily on the night of an April 2012 off-campus party and does not remember having sex with the men but heard about it later from others.

Guilds also has requested a transcript from the Article 32 hearing, which lasted more than a week. He also has requested pleadings in the case.

Cmdr. John Schofield, an academy spokesman, said the academy has received Guilds’ request.

“The Naval Academy is in receipt of the request, and we will provide an answer in a timely manner,” Schofield said.

Guilds noted in his email that the military court already has ordered a review of therapy records for the woman without first offering her counsel access to the needed transcripts and documents that could have prevented such disclosure.

“In the near future, the victim faces hearings on other issues regarding her patient-psychotherapy records along with questions about whether alleged instances of past sexual behavior will be admitted into evidence,” Guilds wrote. “Accordingly, our need for access to these records is urgent.”

A court-martial for Midshipman Eric Graham, of Nashville, Tenn., is scheduled to begin Jan. 27. He is charged with abusive sexual contact. A court-martial for Midshipman Joshua Tate, of Eight Mile, Ala., is scheduled to start Feb. 10. Tate is charged with aggravated sexual assault.

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