On Tuesday February 11, military judge Col. Daniel Daugherty requested prosecutors explain to him how they intended to prove the aggravated sexual assault charges against a former U.S. Naval Academy football player, 21-year-old Joshua Tate of Nashville, TN. Tate is accused of sexually assaulting a female at a party in 2012. The alleged victim was a student in Annapolis, MD. The party was held at an off-campus house in the area, according to the Associated Press.
The alleged victim claimed that on the night of the party, she had drank heavily and did not recall being sexually assaulted by Tate and two other Naval Academy midshipmen. She was told by others who attended the party that she engaged in sex with multiple partners at the party, however Tate is the only one who has been charged.
Another man who was allegedly involved but had charges against him dismissed, Eric Graham, testified that while he witnessed Tate exit a car parked outside of the party before he himself got into the car at the request of a teammate, he believed the sexual encounter occurred between Tate and the woman before he entered the vehicle. Graham also said that although it was evident the woman had been drinking, it was clear that she was coherent and capable of making her own decisions. He also said that he did not see anything wrong with her, and that she was fully clothed. Graham was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.
Graham went on to tell the judge after being asked to describe her level of intoxication that he was not concerned about the level of sobriety of the victim. The judge asked Graham to rate her level of intoxication between 1 and 10, with 10 being completely sober; Graham rated the alleged victim at a 6 or 7.
The judge believed after hearing Graham’s testimony that the alleged victim was “fairly well functioning.” He was curious as to how prosecutors intended to prove Tate’s guilt, given that it appeared the woman was not too intoxicated to consent to the sexual activity.
Michigan sex crime defense attorneys know that this is a common situation; an alleged victim willingly consents to engaging in sexual activity, then an innocent individual ends up accused of sexual assault or rape. While the news article did not mention whether the charge against Tate was dismissed, it was apparent that the judge in the case did not think the evidence would hold up.
If you or someone you know has been accused of a sex-related offense, consult with a capable and experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. There are many innocent individuals who sit behind prison bars today, ultimately being punished for crimes they did not commit.