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Navy upholds ejection of midshipman who reported sex assault

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Navy leaders are backing off a commander’s claim that an Iowa State University midshipman fabricated a sexual assault. But they say the victim will be expelled for the underage drinking that occurred before the molestation.

In a letter to Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, Navy official S.C. Evans says the assault suffered by the midshipman in July 2016 was “unfortunate and appalling” but irrelevant to the decision by the young man to drink alcohol following an earlier infraction.

The midshipman has been ordered to repay $55,000 in scholarship benefits.

Evans’ letter came in response to criticism raised by Fischer about the Navy’s treatment of the student, who is from Omaha. The letter backs off the ROTC commanding officer’s allegation that the student fabricated a story to gain sympathy.