WASHINGTON (AP) — An investigator testified Tuesday that the woman at the center of a Naval Academy sexual assault case said in an interview that she couldn’t remember whether sexual encounters with the men charged in the case were consensual or not.
Special Agent Michelle Robinson spoke from Bahrain by video teleconference in the Article 32 hearing at the Washington Navy Yard to help determine whether three U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen will face a court-martial. The former football players are accused of sexually assaulting or abusing the woman at an off-campus party in 2012.
Robinson testified that the woman at the center of the case told her in an interview that she was unsure whether she consented to sexual encounters with the men.
The woman has said she drank heavily and has no memory of having sex with the midshipmen, but became concerned after hearing gossip shortly after the party that she had had sex with multiple people. The Associated Press generally doesn’t name those who authorities say were victims of sexual assault.
Robinson also testified that Midshipman Eric Graham told her he had oral sex in a car outside the party with the woman. Graham made the statement in an interview during the investigation.
Graham has been charged with abusive sexual contact, while Midshipmen Tre’vas Bush and Josh Tate have been charged with aggravated sexual assault. All three also are charged with making a false statement.
The hearing could be wrapped up Tuesday, a week after it began. After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer will review evidence and make a recommendation to the academy’s superintendent. Such reviews generally take days or weeks to complete.
Special Agent Lisa Werner testified that investigators tried to gather more evidence relating to accusations against Tate by recording a conversation between him and the woman in person.
Werner testified phone taps were no longer effective because students believed their phone calls were being recorded. The attempt to record Tate in person failed, however, because Tate was late for a meeting with the woman and a memory card on the recording device had run out.
Tate had told the woman that he had only been joking when he said shortly after the party that the two had had sex.
Tate’s attorney, Jason Ehrenburg, asked whether investigators needed to get more evidence on Tate.
“We were trying to get something on Tate, yes,” Werner said.
Tate, Graham and Bush declined to speak in court Tuesday when asked by the investigative officer.
Defense attorneys are scheduled to comment on the evidence Tuesday night before the hearing closes.
The case has drawn attention as the White House, Congress and the Pentagon have been focusing on the issue of sexual assault after a string of cases in the military this year. President Barack Obama highlighted the importance of the issue at the Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony in May.