Navy rape trial: Woman says QB's admission on tape

Updated: March 8, 2006, 1:31 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A midshipman who says she was raped by the Naval Academy's starting quarterback testified Wednesday that with her help academy investigators secretly taped an apparent admission of the assault.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, said that she called Lamar Owens on the phone and an investigator listened as he told her he felt distraught about what he had done and considered killing himself.

"I didn't do it for that long, you weren't even awake," said the midshipman quoting Owens.

Owens, a 22-year-old senior from Savannah, Ga., was charged last month under the military code of justice, with raping the female midshipman in her dormitory room on Jan. 29.

The alleged victim testified at the beginning of Owens' Article 32 hearing at the Washington Navy Yard. Described by the academy as roughly equivalent to a civilian grand jury proceeding, the hearing will determine if there is sufficient evidence to go ahead with a court-martial, Navy officials said.

Owens' lawyer, Steven F. Wroble, has predicted that his client will be cleared by a military court.

The alleged victim testified the assault occurred after she had been out drinking at an Annapolis bar with friends. She said she was examined for rape on Jan. 31 and reported the attack to criminal investigators on Feb. 6. The taped conversation occurred shortly after.

Under cross-examination, the woman acknowledged she was very drunk on the night of the assault and that her memory of events was spotty. When defense attorney Wroble asked her if it was possible that she had consented to sex, she answered, "I suppose."

Later, however, she said, "I wouldn't define it as consent if I can't remember it happening."

Still later, she said, "I don't believe I would have consented."

Both Owens and the woman are attending classes at the academy, but officials say they have taken steps to ensure their paths do not cross.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press