WASHINGTON – A military jury on Thursday acquitted a former Naval Academy quarterback of raping a female midshipman in her dormitory room.
But jurors convicted Lamar S. Owens Jr. on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and disobeying a lawful order.
"They have determined, obviously, that the consensual act took place," said Cmdr. John Maksym, the trial judge. He added that the jury of five Naval officers found that Owens "wrongfully entered the room without permission and wrongfully engaged in consensual sex."
Owens, standing at attention as the verdicts were read, showed no emotion. He remains free without bond. He was not allowed to graduate or receive a commission in May, and remains a midshipman.
Neither Owens' accuser nor her family were in court when the verdict was read.
The punishment phase will begin Friday morning. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of two years on the conduct unbecoming an officer charge. The judge tabled discussion of a sentence on the failure to obey a lawful order charge until Friday.
The judge also said he would consider to whether to set aside either of the charges.
Owens, 22, of Savannah, Ga., was charged an incident in the room of a female midshipman at the academy's Bancroft Hall on Jan. 29. Owens testified that the sexual encounter was consensual; his accuser testified that she repeatedly rejected his advances.
Owens was a team captain and starting quarterback for Navy last season, leading the team to an 8-4 record with victories over Army and Air Force, and a win over Colorado State in the Poinsettia Bowl.