- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2007

A juror on a panel that convicted a Naval Academy midshipman of sexual assault and sentenced him to two years in prison has “concerns” about the way deliberations were conducted, an attorney for the midshipman said yesterday.

A hearing is scheduled for today at the Washington Navy Yard to discuss the juror, a member of the panel of seven Marine and Navy officers that last month convicted Midshipman Kenny Ray Morrison of sexually assaulting a fellow midshipman last year.

Morrison’s attorney, William Ferris, said the juror “is very concerned about what other people did” during deliberations. Mr. Ferris, who did not name the juror, also said the revelation “can do nothing but help my case.” He did not provide further details, citing a gag order issued by the military judge.

A spokeswoman for the Annapolis military academy would not comment on the hearing.

Morrison, 24, was convicted of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for having sex with a female midshipman without her consent at a D.C. hotel last year. A former midshipman also testified that she thought Morrison sexually assaulted her two months later, but the jury cleared him of charges in the incident.

Morrison was a former backup linebacker on the football team. The Kingwood, Texas, native also was the second academy football player to be court-martialed for sexual assault in the past year. Last year, a military jury found former star quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr. not guilty of rape but convicted him of lesser offenses.

Navy prosecutors and Morrison’s defense team selected the jury from a pool of officers who are posted at the academy, many as instructors. All served under Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, the academy’s superintendent. Adm. Rempt also had authority over selection of the jury pool.

In an unusual move, the Marine judge hearing the case allowed Morrison’s defense team to ask officers whether they thought Adm. Rempt was unfairly pushing for courts-martial because of political pressure to reduce sexual assault on campus. At least one officer selected for the jury said he thought Adm. Rempt wanted to make an example of Morrison, who is serving his prison sentence in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.

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