Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No Need To Acquit. Her Story Did Not Fit.

Midshipman Mark Calvanico, a junior, faced charges of rape, unauthorized absence, unlawful breaking and entering into a dwelling with intent to commit rape, and conduct unbecoming an officer. The alleged incidents happened Oct. 14, 2007 according to an Annapolis Academy statement.

He will not face court-martial, the Naval Academy has announced.

Now a Midshipman 1st Class, Cadet Mark Calvanico, had been charged with rape, indecent assault, indecent acts and conduct unbecoming an officer for alleged actions in the early hours of October 14.

Superintendent Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler decided not to send Calvanico to trial after reviewing the report of the Article 32’s investigating officer, the Naval Academy announced Tuesday June 3rd.

LT John Clady wrote in his recommendation that there was “almost complete lack of physical evidence” for the most serious charges.

“Despite there being sufficient evidence to go forward with a court-martial for the less-serious offenses, in my opinion the seriousness of the offenses does not rise to the level for adjudication at that forum,” Clady wrote.

Calvanico, 21, had been accused by a female midshipman of rape in Bancroft Hall after he had been out drinking in Annapolis. The woman testified at Calvanico’s April 22 Article 32 hearing that he pinned her down and raped her in her bed during a visit to her dorm room after 3 a.m., while a roommate slept about 12 feet away.

The woman said Calvanico, whom she described as an acquaintance, forced himself on her in October 2007 after making a third visit to her dorm room after midnight. She testified that she told Calvanico to leave her alone, but he wouldn’t listen.

“He was drunk, and he was very forceful,” she said.

The woman testified that Calvanico pinned down her arms during the assault. She paused and wept several times during her testimony and struggled to describe details of the incident.

He raped me,” she said under questioning. “I mean, what do you want me to say?”

Calvanico’s lawyer, Michael Waddington, argued there was no evidence of “forcible rape” and that his client simply wanted to “schmooze his way into a make-out session” with someone who had expressed romantic interest in him.

“It’s our position there was no intercourse — no intercourse, no rape,” Waddington told Lt. John Clady, the investigating officer in the case who is assigned to issue an opinion on whether the case should proceed to a court-martial.

The accuser’s roommate testified that Calvanico visited their room five times that night, but that her roommate had left the room after his third visit, when the attack is alleged to have occurred.

She said Calvanico and her roommate had a burgeoning romance that they were concerned violated the school’s fraternization policy.

The roommate said she was half asleep with her back to Calvanico and her roommate at the time the attack is alleged to have happened. She said she didn’t hear yelling, but that she heard her roommate tell Calvanico to “get out of my room.”

She said she didn’t hear signs of a struggle but that she did hear a rustling coming from her roommate’s bed.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agent Michelle Robinson testified that DNA from both midshipmen was found on the inside and outside of a pair of boxer shorts Calvanico had been wearing that night.

Under questioning by the defense, Robinson said Calvanico’s DNA was not found on a vaginal swab of the accuser or on any of the blankets, sheets or clothes. Robinson also said no bruises or cuts were found on the accuser’s genitals.

Calvanico, who is in his last year at the academy, could still face administrative proceedings for “collateral offenses,” such as violating the regulations governing midshipmen, academy spokeswoman Jenny Erickson said. Results of an administrative proceeding can include no punishment; restriction, loss of privileges or demerits; or forwarding the case to the superintendent for possible administrative separation.

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