Scandals shut navy
academy for a week
By Hugh Davies in Washington
by scandal, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Maryland, has ordered a week-long "stand-down"
to force all 4,000 midshipmen to review their standards
of conduct and integrity.
Regular duties are to cease while
discipline is discussed in the context of the Academy's
honour concept: "I will not lie, cheat or steal and
will let the whole truth be known."
Adml Charles Larson, the
superintendent, said he expected pupils "to be
responsible and accountable for their own actions, those
of their shipmates and for the environment around
The move, unprecedented in the
college's 150-year history, came after a string of
incidents that have embarrassed the hierarchy. They
include theft of exam papers, cheating, drink-driving,
drug-taking and sex charges.
A female midshipman was taken from her
dormitory bed, dragged to a men's lavatory, handcuffed to
a urinal and taunted by midshipmen who took pictures of
The institution was 'plagued by a
serious morale problem caused by a culture of hypocrisy'
Three other women were allegedly
sexually harassed in further incidents. Two officers were
forced out of the academy after one was charged with
soliciting a prostitute and the other was caught drinking
with under-age cheerleaders. This month a midshipman was
accused of sexually assaulting four female colleagues.
Another is facing a charge of molesting a toddler.
A grand jury has indicted two
midshipmen in a car-theft ring. A midshipman has also
been convicted of buying LSD from undercover
investigators. It emerged that the mind-altering drug was
popular at the academy.
Yesterday, two senior midshipmen where
charged with attempting to break into a house in
Vietnam veteran James Barry, an academy
teacher, said "an ethically corrupting system"
The institution was "plagued by a
serious morale problem caused by a culture of hypocrisy,
one that tolerates sexual harassment, favouritism and the
covering up of problems", he said.
Capt Tom Jurkowsky, a spokesman for the
academy, said: "We're stepping back, and we're
trying to figure out what's going on. How can we get back
on track? What are we going to do about it?"