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Naval Academy chief sets aside judge's recommendation; orders midshipmen to stand trial in alleged sexual assault

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 8:45 p.m.
Midshipmen Eric Graham (left) and Midshipman Joshua Tate are accused of taking part in an alleged sexual assault at an off-campus party in April 2012. Both were former Navy football players.

The superintendent of the Naval Academy set aside the recommendation of a military judge Thursday and ordered two former Navy football players to face court-martial in the alleged sexual assault of a female midshipman, attorneys for the accused men said.

Joshua Tate, 21, of Nashville will be tried on a charge of aggravated sexual assault, and Eric Graham, 21, of Eight Mile, Ala., will be tried on a charge of abusive sexual contact. Both are also charged with making false statements.

A third ex-player, Tra'ves Bush, 22, of Johnston, S.C., who was charged with aggravated sexual assault, will not face court-martial. Bush was prevented from graduating in May while the case was pending. All charges against him have been dismissed, said his attorney, Andrew Weinstein.

Attorneys for all three men said the military judge, Cmdr. Robert P. Monahan Jr., who presided over the Article 32 hearing and filed a 174-page report to Academy Superintendent Michael Miller last week, did not recommend that any of the three midshipmen face court-martial. Academy Lt. Cmdr. John Schofield said he could not discuss details of the judge's report until the case was over.

However, Schofield said Miller's decision was consistent with the judge's findings about what probably occurred at an April 2012 off-campus party, where the alleged sexual assault occurred. The victim, now a 21-year-old senior, testified that she was drinking heavily that night and could not remember much of what had happened.

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