Naval Academy Discharges Westminster Midshipman

From Associated Press

A midshipman from Orange County will be discharged from the Naval Academy for sexual misconduct involving a high school girl staying at the dormitory for a summer recruiting program and for assaulting a female midshipman who refused his sexual advances, an academy spokesman said.

Stephen J. Ciccarelli III, a sophomore from Westminster, was convicted in a general court martial Thursday of assault and conduct unbecoming an officer, but acquitted of charges he raped a high school girl, said Capt. Tom Jurkowsky, an academy spokesman.

The military judge, Lt. Col. David Anderson of the Marine Corps, ordered that Ciccarelli be reprimanded.

Ciccarelli will be discharged from the academy, Jurkowsky said. He did not know if Ciccarelli, an aviation mechanic and petty officer 3rd class, would be automatically discharged from the Navy as well.

"He's been convicted of a court-martial offense. I would say it would be doubtful if he would serve in the Navy in any capacity any longer," Jurkowsky said.

In his opening statement last week, prosecutor Lt. Cmdr. Pete Dutton alleged that Ciccarelli, while intoxicated, made unwanted sexual advances to a female midshipman in a dorm room on June 17.

According to Jurkowsky, Ciccarelli "grabbed her arm" and "touched her on the face."

Later that night, prosecutors said, Ciccarelli sexually assaulted a high school girl who was staying in the dorm during a summer recruiting program and entered the room of another high school girl in the same program and got into bed with her.

Jurkowsky said Ciccarelli was acquitted of charges of sexual intercourse and attempted sodomy involving the first girl but found guilty of unlawful entry into the other girl's room and sexual misconduct, which he would only describe as "inappropriate touching."

Navy-appointed defense attorney Lt. Mary Grace McAlevy had argued there was no physical evidence of sexual assault.

In October, Adm. Charles R. Larson, academy superintendent, decided to convene the military trial despite an investigator's recommendation that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Jurkowsky did not know if there were any plans to house students in the high school recruiting program in the future outside Bancroft Hall, the academy's sole dormitory.

"This was an isolated incident. We stand behind the performance and character of our midshipmen," Jurkowsky said. "When we have an individual who is guilty of inappropriate behavior, we take appropriate action."

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