Monday, March 10, 2008

Naval Academy - Mids charged with rape, child porn

The Naval Academy announced yesterday that two midshipmen have been charged with sex crimes.
Midshipman 2nd Class Mark A. Calvanico, of New Jersey, is accused of unlawfully breaking and entering into "a dwelling" in Bancroft Hall, the academy's dorm, on Oct. 14, 2007, an academy spokesman said, and committing rape and indecent assault.

The junior also is charged with unauthorized absence and conduct unbecoming an officer.

In a separate incident, Midshipman 1st Class Michael S. Pollard, a senior, is charged with receiving, possessing and attempting to distribute child pornography between July 2003 and August 2007, and with obstructing justice and making a false official statement.

The Naval Academy declined to release any more details of the alleged events in either case, except to say that both cases were investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury preliminary investigation, is scheduled in the Pollard case for March 24 and in the Calvanico case for March 28.

Both hearings will be conducted at the Washington Navy Yard, after which the investigating officers will make non-binding recommendations to the Naval Academy superintendent. The superintendent will then decide whether to proceed with the cases.

Both mids face prison terms if convicted.

Midshipman Calvanico recently made it to the finals in the brigade boxing championship heavyweight division, but was defeated.

In an unrelated case, the academy's former top physician, who was sentenced last year to 46 months in prison for secretly taping midshipmen having sex at his Annapolis area home, learned yesterday that his sentence has been reduced to 24 months.

Annapolis attorney William Ferris, who represented then-Cmdr. Kevin J. Ronan, said yesterday that he successfully asked Ronan's command, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, to reduce the charges on grounds they were excessive.

"I have seen people with more serious sexual offenses, and they got two years, and this guy got almost four years," Mr. Ferris said.

A military jury convicted and sentenced Ronan in November on charges of violating federal wiretap laws and of conduct unbecoming an officer.

The academy has had a couple of highly visible sexual assaults cases in recent years.

In 2006, a jury acquitted senior quarterback Lamar S. Owens on charges of raping a female midshipman in her room, but convicted him of conduct unbecoming an officer and violating a lawful order. The jury elected to impose no punishment, but the academy dismissed the former football star for violating academy regulations by having sex in Bancroft Hall.

Last year, a jury convicted reserve linebacker Kenny Ray Morrison of committing indecent assault on a female midshipman at a Washington, D.C., hotel, and sentenced him to two years in the Navy brig.

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