A hearing on rape allegations against three former U.S. Naval Academy football players is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at the Washington Navy Yard, academy spokesman John Schofield said Monday.
The academy filed charges in June but did not identify the accused. Their names will be made public at Tuesday’s preliminary hearing known as an Article 32. The purpose of the hearing, which is expected to last three days, is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to merit a court martial, the military equivalent of a criminal trial.
The proceedings will be a closely watched case study of how the U.S. military polices sexual violence within its ranks.
The three men, two of whom are still at the academy, are accused of sexually assaulting a female midshipman at a an April 2012 off-campus party. The accuser also still attends the academy.
Under military law, the maximum penalty for rape is life in prison and a dishonorable discharge, said Lisa Windsor, a former judge advocate general who is in private practice in Washington. The men were also charged with making false statements. The maximum penalty for that offense is five years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.