Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Editorial last word on the MIDN Owens saga

The Annapolis Gazette provided solid coverage on the Courts Martial and write up and editorial that about says it all.
There are no winners here, but right now the biggest loser seems to be Midshipman Owens. His reputation can't be restored and the suffering for himself and his family can't be erased. The superintendent should drop any further action against him.

It is less clear what to do with his accuser. She and her friends were granted immunity for their testimony, so she faces only minor disciplinary action. Perjury trumps immunity - so if prosecutors believe she perjured herself, would they pursue those charges with equal determination?

Just what is the penalty for making a false accusation? Graduation and a commission? The accuser's name wasn't paraded before the public. Her family didn't have to face public speculation and ridicule. She was shielded. But given the problems she admitted to at the trial, is she the kind of officer we'd want to lead troops into combat?

The superintendent, Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, inherited a school with a history of sexual misconduct. We applaud his determination to purge the academy of sexual harassment. But in the process of demonstrating their resolve, he and his staff appear to have chosen the wrong case.

We don't know if the superintendent got bad advice from the attorneys or if he decided to make an example of Midshipman Owens, the former quarterback of the Navy football team. But now that Midshipman Owens has been acquitted of rape, we believe he has suffered enough. If his accuser ends up with the commission that he deserves, then the worst miscarriage of justice is yet to come.
Hat tip CoRev.

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