- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

ANNAPOLIS — A Navy doctor who played host to students at the U.S. Naval Academy is being investigated amid reports that he videotaped nude midshipmen without their consent, according to two newspapers.

A spokesman for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service confirmed yesterdaythat the agency is investigating a sponsor, the name for Annapolis residents who agree to open their homes for midshipmen to relax on weekends or school holidays.

“We are investigating allegations of wrongdoing against a sponsor, but other than that we can’t comment,” spokesman Ed Buice said.

The Baltimore Sun and Annapolis Capital, citing documents related to the case, said the Navy doctor has not been charged with a crime but is being investigated for surreptitiously videotaping midshipmen who stayed in his home.

The sponsor, Cmdr. Kevin Ronan, was a former medical officer at the Academy but left last year to work for the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in the District.

The recordings reportedly include a midshipman having sex with his girlfriend, said Charles Gittins, a lawyer and Academy graduate who specializes in military law.

Mr. Gittins told the Associated Press that he was contacted by the family of a female midshipman who stayed in Cmdr. Ronan’s home.

“I was contacted about the videotaping,” Mr. Gittins said, though he has not been hired by the family. One midshipman who visited Cmdr. Ronan’s home found a recording of himself having sex, Mr. Gittins said.

Cmdr. Ronan, an Annapolis resident, and his attorney did not respond to calls for comment yesterday about the videotaping investigation.

The school referred questions to NCIS.

Local authorities are being briefed about the case, but they are not investigating it, said Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Maryland law prohibits the surveillance of “a person’s private area,” such as their genitals, even if the person being taped is in the camera user’s home.

The Capital, citing documents related to the case, reported Tuesday that the investigation began when a midshipman staying in Cmdr. Ronan’s home noticed a red light in an air vent.

The newspaper reported that on Jan. 30, a midshipman said he was changing clothes in the guest room at Cmdr. Ronan’s home when he saw the light. The midshipman found a concealed video camera, according to the documents.

A spokesman for the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery would not comment on the investigation.

“I know absolutely nothing about his time at Annapolis,” spokesman Guy Schein said of Cmdr. Ronan.

According to the Academy’s Web site, Cmdr. Ronan was a medical officer at the school and assisted with athletic events. He also served on the school’s “eating disorders treatment team.”

The local families who volunteer to be sponsors for midshipmen are “like a surrogate family,” Mr. Gittins said. “They take you as if they were your local family and give you a place to go and have a safe environment.”

Mr. Schein told the Sun that the Ronan investigation could take about a month. Until then, few details were available about the tapes or what may be on them.

Mr. Gittins said it is too soon to know what may have been recorded.

“Nobody’s seen the video other than one midshipman,” he said. “Do I think she was videotaped? Yeah, I do, but we don’t have any evidence.”

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