March 19, 2006 in Nation/World

Academy sex cases rarely adjudicated

The Spokesman-Review
 

Sexual assault charges against students at the Naval Academy are routinely dismissed without trial, an analysis of Navy documents found.

A review of 56 midshipmen accused of sexual assault since 1998 found only two were convicted, one in a civilian court, according to the review by the Washington Post of Navy incident reports, case summaries and data released by the school.

In virtually every other case, deals were struck forcing the alleged offender to leave the academy without facing trial and without a criminal record.

Reports of sexual assault have been increasing at the academy, in part because of an effort to encourage victims to report incidents, but advocates say increased reporting is only part of the solution.

“It’s not about how many reports you’re receiving, it’s about how much justice you’re providing to victims of crime,” said Anita Sanchez, spokeswoman for the Miles Foundation, an advocacy group for victims of violence associated with the military.

Winfield, W.Va.

Plane strays, crashes; pilot dead

A private plane crashed near a rural home in West Virginia after straying hundreds of miles off course as National Guard fighter crews tried unsuccessfully to contact the pilot.

The body of the pilot, the only person on board, was found in the wreckage after the plane crashed Friday night, Todd Gunther, an investigating officer with the National Transportation Safety Board, said Saturday.

There was no immediate indication if he died during or before the crash. No one on the ground was injured. Gunther identified the pilot as William R. Cammack, 56, of St. Paul, Minn.

The twin-engine Beech Baron 56TC took off from Glendive, Mont., Friday evening for a 600-mile flight to St. Paul, Minn. The pilot’s flight plan said he would be flying at 27,000 feet.

New Orleans

Officers cleared of Katrina looting

Four New Orleans police officers have been cleared of allegations that they looted a Wal-Mart store after Hurricane Katrina, but each was suspended 10 days for not stopping civilians from ransacking the store, the Police Department said.

The probe stemmed from an MSNBC report that showed the officers filling a shopping cart with shoes, clothes and other items. When a reporter asked the officers what they were doing, one responded “Looking for looters” and turned her back.

Assistant Police Chief Marlon Defillo, commander of the Public Integrity Bureau, said the officers seen on the video were recently cleared of looting because they had received permission from superiors to take necessities for themselves and other officers.

The Police Department later informed Wal-Mart management, after the store had been secured, that its officers had taken some needed items, he said.


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