A hearing on rape allegations against three former U.S. Naval Academy football players got underway Tuesday morning at the Washington Navy Yard, with a female midshipman facing her alleged assailants for the first time in a legal proceeding.
Each of the accused — cornerback Eric Graham of Eight Mile, Ala., safety Tra’ves Bush of Johnston, S.C., and linebacker Josh Tate of Nashville — was flanked by teams of military and civilian defense counsel.
The three men are accused of sexually assaulting the midshipman at an April 2012 off-campus party.
The young woman, a junior at the time of the alleged attack, testified Tuesday in a session of the hearing closed to reporters, her attorney said. The woman declined to comment as she left. The Washington Post generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
The hearing comes at a time when the military’s ability to police sexual violence within its ranks is under intense scrutiny. The Defense Department estimated that 26,000 service members were the targets of unwanted sexual contact last year, although only 3,374 incidences of sexual assault were reported, the Pentagon said in May.