Victim Testifies in US Naval Academy Gang Rape Trial


Nearly a year and a half after reporting her own gang rape, the victim of the alleged sexual assault enacted by three football players from the U.S. Naval Academy has finally had her day in court. Wednesday, the female midshipman testified that fellow U.S. Naval Academy students Tra’ves Bush, Eric Graham and Joshua Tate all had sex with her at an off-campus party in April of 2012 when she was too drunk to consent.

The victim testified that she only remembered snippets of the evening, with one memory of sitting on the bed with Bush (who she had just ended a casual relationship with) standing over her and another of being crouched down in a car alongside Tate and Graham. In the car, she recalled being upset and repeatedly saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” but the rest is blank. Of when she awoke the next morning — still at the party house — the victim told the court, “I noticed I was really disheveled. I was really nerve-racked because I didn’t know what had happened.” According to previous reports, she also had a sore back and bruising on her body.

Getting a ride back to the academy in the same car she remembered being in with Tate and Graham the night before, the victim noticed a discarded condom wrapper, but it wasn’t until a short while later, when she began reading derogatory things posted by her classmates on social media about an unnamed woman and a possible assault that had taken place at the party, that she began to piece it all together.

The victim testified that she then confronted Tate, who had invited her to the party, and asked if they had sex. Tate confirmed that she had had sex with both him and Graham, allegedly telling her, “What, you don’t remember? I’m going to have to refresh your memory, then.”

Initially, the victim did not want to come forward because she “didn’t want to make a big deal” or disappoint her loved ones. However, an investigation was launched after she went to the Brigade Medical Unit about half a week later and told a doctor that she had possibly had sex without a condom and that she couldn’t remember who her partners were. It was only after the NCIS began investigating classmates who the victim knew were not involved in the incident that she decided to actively participate in the investigation and make a sworn statement. In January of this year, she assisted in a wire tap where she got Tate to indirectly acknowledge that they had had sex the night of the party in April.

Cross-examination will continue today and possibly into the weekend.

[NBC News]

Image via the AP.

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