Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking to the graduating class at the United States Naval Academy on Friday, told the new officers he was counting on them to “lead in helping eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault of your sisters and brothers in uniform.”
His remarks were especially noteworthy because, just a few minutes later, a young woman who was at the center of a highly publicized rape case that left the campus reeling walked across the stage to receive her diploma.
Two months ago, a former classmate and football player, Joshua Tate, was found not guilty of sexually assaulting her when she was too drunk to consent, closing a case that had lasted for nearly two years.
Hours after the verdict, the Naval Academy accepted Mr. Tate’s resignation in exchange for withdrawing a charge that he also lied to the school.
Mr. Tate’s accuser is expected to soon take up her first job, as a surface warfare officer.
When her name was called, she walked across the stage and shook Mr. Hagel’s hand before collecting her diploma. Naval officials at the ceremony said that she was given the same reception as the other 1,000 graduates: just one more midshipman who became an officer.
SOURCE: HELENE COOPER
The New York Times