Naval Academy midshipman sexual assault trial set to end next week – Baltimore Sun

Lawyers are expected to present their closing arguments on Tuesday in the trial of a US Naval Academy midshipman accused of sexually assaulting another midshipman last year.

Garrett Lee Holsen, 21, is charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault, as well as third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses, stemming from a 2021 incident. Witnesses said he had initiated sex with another midshipman who was intoxicated at a party after the Herndon Monument Climb festivities. during the commissioning week.

On Friday, the fourth day of Anne Arundel’s Circuit Court trial, prosecutors closed their case and the defense team began to argue their position that the encounter was consensual.

Navy investigators referred the then 18-year-old woman’s allegations to Annapolis police in June of last year. Prosecutors wrote in court papers that the woman said she was sexually assaulted at an Airbnb on Colonial Avenue where a group of wannabes attended a party on May 23, 2021. Holsen was arrested Nov. 30 and released on bail. deposit the same day.

Holsen, of Manitowoc, Wis., is currently a junior midshipman second class at the military academy, according to his attorney, Peter O’Neill. A Naval Academy spokesperson declined to comment on the matter as it is an ongoing matter.

According to the charging documents, the woman went to an upstairs bathroom to vomit while her friend left to get food and water. Police said Holsen, who was 19 at the time, entered the bathroom and began kissing the aspirant before removing her pants. The woman told investigators she remembered telling him he’d been ‘waiting to do this all year’ and not telling anyone as he started having sex with her, according to the charging documents. Holsen stopped and left when the 18-year-old’s friend returned to the bathroom and told him to get out, according to the charging documents.

The midshipman was visibly inebriated at the party and “struggled to hold his head up high,” said Olivia Hunt, a midshipman who testified for the prosecution on Friday. Although she did not see the act happen, she said she helped the midshipman to a bathroom, and then saw Holsen leave as her friend told her to get out of The bathroom.

O’Neill questioned the veracity of Hunt’s statements, comparing his testimony in court to details described differently in his statement to police.

“You want to make Mr. Holsen look as guilty as possible,” O’Neill said during cross-examination.

During opening statements, O’Neill maintained that the encounter was consensual, noting that Holsen maintained his innocence “from day one.”

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On Friday, the defense called several associates of Holsen, who testified in support of Holsen’s truthfulness and respect for women.

“He treats women like any guy should,” said Clay Fiscus, a midshipman second class who has been Holsen’s roommate for the past year.

Assistant State Attorneys Courtney Scalice and Katherine Smeltzer argued in a Friday court filing that character witnesses, who did not attend the party, were irrelevant to the case. .

The trial before Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Robert Thompson, which was originally scheduled to end on Friday, has been extended to Tuesday next week, with proceedings adjourned Monday.

A total of 34 midshipmen reported or were charged with sexual assault during the 2020-21 academic year, according to the Department of Defense’s annual report on sexual assault and violence, which was presented to Congress in february. The total was the same as the 2019-2020 academic year, which was a slight increase of one case from 2018-2019.

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