The superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy recommended today that a 23-year-old midshipman accused of using cocaine be dismissed from the academy. The midshipman was given until Monday morning to resign or notify officials he will appeal the case to Navy Secretary John F. Lehman Jr.
Jeff Bellistri of Severna Park, Md., has maintained that the urine sample collected from him during a random sweep Nov. 12 must have been mixed up or tampered with because he has never used cocaine. However he was recommended for dismissal after two administrative hearings were held at the academy.
Academy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Stephen H. Clawson said today that Bellistri's urine sample was tested twice by a Navy lab in Norfolk and a third time by a private lab in Baltimore. Each test showed a very high dose of cocaine had been taken, he said.
Each midshipman was watched as he produced his sample, Clawson said, and wrote his own social security number and signature on the bottle. The bottles were placed in marked slots in boxes of 12, he said, sealed with package sealing tape and placed in cartons, which were under guard until they were shipped to the lab.
Clawson said tests showed that the donor of the sample containing traces of cocaine had O-type blood, the same blood type as Bellistri. Because only one-third of the population has O-type blood, Clawson said, the odds are small that a switched sample also would indicate 0-type blood.
Because Bellistri had been away from the academy for the three days preceeding the test, Clawson added, he had the opportunity to take cocaine. Clawson showed reporters Bellistri's signed sample bottle, the ledger he and a witness had signed and a copy of Bellistri's lab report.