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US Navy football players face charges over alleged rape


Several football players at the US Naval Academy are due to face criminal charges in connection with the alleged rape of a female midshipman, officials said.

A probe by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service "has been completed and reviewed" and the senior officer in charge "has decided to send this case" to a preliminary hearing, known in the military courts as Article 32 proceedings, spokesman Commander John Schofield said in a statement late Monday.

Authorities were expected to release details of the charges soon.

The case is the latest at the elite military academies that has highlighted a wider problem in the armed forces with sexual assault, with advocates saying victims have been too intimidated to come forward.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Dempsey, has called the rise in sexual assaults a "crisis" that must be confronted, while lawmakers are weighing legislation designed to help victims and require tougher penalties to those convicted of rape and related crimes.