- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

A witness in the court-martial of Naval Academy quarterback Lamar S. Owens Jr. testified yesterday that the midshipman appeared sad and morose the night after a female midshipman said he raped her in her dorm room.

“He appeared to be upset,” said the witness, a female midshipman and a friend of the woman. “He appeared to have been crying.”

The witness said she and another female midshipman met with Midshipman Owens about 20 hours after the woman said she was attacked.

“I dunno. I dunno,” Midshipman Owens said, when asked what happened, the witness testified. She also said Midshipman Owens acknowledged he “had been very drunk” on Jan. 29, the early morning when the female midshipman said she was raped.

The witness also said Midshipmen Owens said “no” when asked: “Did she invite you into her bed?”

If convicted of rape, conduct unbecoming an officer and violating a protective order, Midshipman Owens, 22, of Savannah, Ga., could be dishonorably discharged and sentenced to life in prison.

Midshipman Owens’ attorney, Reid Weingarten, said in his opening statement Tuesday that the woman had invited his client into her room with an instant message and that the sex was consensual.

Under cross-examination yesterday, the boyfriend of the victim said he had asked the woman, 20, whether she had sent a message to Midshipman Owens.

“She was pretty sure she had IM’d him, but wasn’t completely sure,” said the man, also a midshipman.

No evidence has been presented that a record of those messages exists.

The boyfriend also described how he came into his girlfriend’s room to find her curled up in a fetal position, crying and saying she thought Midshipman Owens had raped her.

He also testified that his girlfriend called earlier in the night to ask him to help her and two friends return from an Annapolis bar to the dormitory.

He testified that the task was like “sheepherding” and at about 3 a.m. he put his girlfriend in bed, in a room she shared with a roommate who was asleep. “She was definitely drunk,” he said.

The Washington Times is not identifying the witnesses because of their close relationship to the woman.

Also yesterday, Midshipman Owens’ attorneys said they wanted to suppress a recording of a telephone conversation the woman had with their client, in which they said he tearfully apologized to her but stopped short of admitting rape. The issue will be litigated later this week.

The woman who said she was raped testified for six hours Tuesday. Much of the case rests on the spotty memory of the woman, who was a third-year student at the time of the incident. She acknowledged having eight drinks that night. She could not remember periods of the night, including a brief one when Midshipman Owens was in her room.

While she did not explicitly tell Midshipman Owens to stop, she said she didn’t give her consent to sex and tried to show it by refusing his kisses and trying to wriggle away when he got on top of her.

In his lengthy cross-examination, Mr. Weingarten attacked the woman’s credibility, saying she concocted the story of rape to cover her own infractions. He also implied that she had a problem with binge drinking.

The court-martial resumes today.

Midshipman Owens is one of two Navy football players to face court-martial for sexual assault at the Washington Navy Yard this month. Kenny Ray Morrison, of Kingwood, Texas, entered a not-guilty plea Friday to charges of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer for a Feb. 4 incident. An academy instructor also has a special court-martial set for August for reputedly making sexually crude remarks to a female midshipman.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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