Hearing Officer To Make Recommendation On Pursuing Or Dismissing Charges
NEW LONDON — An investigative hearing into allegations that a U.S. Coast Guard cadet sexually abused another cadet at the academy opened Wednesday with testimony from the alleged victim.
The woman described waking in her dorm room to a stranger touching her inner thigh. “I remember someone fumbling with my blanket and touching my leg,” she testified during the hearing at the Coast Guard Academy. “I felt skin to skin contact. I felt a swirling motion of a hand creeping up my leg.”
The woman said she kicked and yelled at the person, a stocky man in a blue polo shirt, who quickly ran out her door. She said she later learned that Cadet First Class Alexander A. Stevens was identified as a suspect in the Sept. 15, 2013, assault.
Stevens is accused of touching the cadet sexually, causing her bodily harm, and unlawful entry, in violation of Articles 120, 130 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Wednesday’s hearing, referred to as an Article 32 investigation, took place before an investigating officer who will determine if there are reasonable grounds to support the charges, said Commander Chris Tribolet, an associate professor of law at the academy.
In the coming weeks, the officer will recommend to Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz, superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, how to proceed with the charges. Stosz can dismiss the case, take administrative action or nonjudicial action, or he can refer the allegations for court-martial, Tribolet said.
In her testimony, the alleged victim said that after the incident, she initially she had trouble sleeping and couldn’t concentrate in class, and that her school work suffered.
“I think he should be kicked out of the Coast Guard. I think he should be a registered sex offender. I think he should go to jail,” she said.
Stevens and the female cadet were in the same company and lived on the same floor at Chase Hall at the time of the incident, but she said she didn’t know him.
Stevens did not testify at the hearing, but his version of what happened was revealed during Wednesday’s testimony.
Chief Robert Cain testified that he had been informed of the sexual assault that weekend, but that a suspect had not been identified until Stevens approached him the Monday after the weekend. Stevens explained to Cain that he had been drinking with his girlfriend in downtown New London on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Read more…