Naval Academy Student Denies Sexually Assaulting Fellow Student

Friday, April 6th 2007, 8:08 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Naval Academy student accused of sexually assaulting two female students last year testified at his court-martial Friday that he had consensual sex with one of them.

Kenny Ray Morrison said the woman rubbed his leg as he sat next to her on a hotel bed after a night of drinking in February 2006 and asked if he had a condom.

``I said I didn't, I'll be safe. Is that OK? And she said yes,'' Morrison said.

The woman has said the sex was not consensual. The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Morrison, 24, of Kingwood, Texas, is being court-martialed on charges of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for the two incidents. Both defense and prosecution finished their cases Friday, and closing arguments were scheduled for Monday.

On Friday, Marine judge Col. Steven Day dismissed one of the two conduct counts for lack of evidence. Day also limited the scope of the other conduct count but did not drop it.

Morrison's testimony Friday focused solely on an alleged encounter with one of the women at an Embassy Suites hotel in Washington during the early morning of Feb. 4, 2006.

The woman, now a senior at the academy, said Morrison woke her, then had sex with her against her wishes three times.

Morrison told jurors he stumbled across the woman by accident as he looked for an open bed. After she rubbed his leg, he asked if he could kiss her, and the woman said yes, he said.

During his 45 minutes on the witness stand, Morrison did not address a second allegation made by a former midshipman who is now a Marine second lieutenant.

That woman told the military jury that she believed Morrison sexually assaulted her in April 2006, while he was under investigation for the incident in the hotel.

She described waking up naked in bed next to Morrison, confused, suffering pain in her groin and unable to remember what happened the night before. One of the last things the woman recalled was accepting a beer from Morrison at an Annapolis bar nine hours earlier.

Under cross-examination, the woman conceded that she did not remember anything about how she got to the apartment or what happened.

The case is the second court-martial of a midshipman in the past year and comes as the Annapolis academy is trying to reduce sexual offenses on campus. Former star football quarterback Lamar Owens Jr. was cleared of rape last year but convicted of lesser charges.