In the latest U.S. Naval Academy scandal, everyone is a loser. Everyone is a victim, and everyone is guilty. That assessment pretty much covers the four midshipmen involved — three men and a woman — whose lives are never going to be quite the same.
Blame the ubiquitous and insidious social network on which rumor instantly becomes fact, and bragging is a way of life. Blame a change in morals. Blame the bad luck of being caught up in a public spotlight made considerably brighter by public demand for the military to end its history of sexual harassment and abuse. Blame a combination of these things, but most of all, blame horrifically bad judgment by everyone who took part in an incident best described as a sordid cautionary tale.
Three former members of the academy’s football team have been accused of raping the female midshipman at an April 2012 “yoga and toga” party at an off-campus “football house” in Annapolis, Md. Accounts about the incident — including often-conflicting testimony — emerged in an eight-day preliminary hearing that ended Sept. 3. A decision is pending on whether to court-martial the three men or drop the case.