Naval Academy student speaks out on alleged rape by three classmates

(CBS News) A recent Pentagon survey found that 26,000 assaults took place in the military last year, and one of the most high-profile accusations has only recently come to light: the current investigation of three Naval Academy students who stand accused of raping a fellow classmate.

"CBS This Morning" special correspondent Jeff Glor spoke with the female student involved.

Glor reported, the female student -- a Navy midshipman -- is only 20 years old and is still in school. The incident happened last spring and she admits she had been drinking heavily, and doesn't remember much -- but says that doesn't change the facts. Three of her classmates, three football players, have been accused of rape.

Her mother recently shared her daughter's story with the Washington Post because she believes the Naval Academy has not taken the situation seriously. When the young woman sat down with CBS News, her mother joined, and they asked we conceal both their names and faces.

Describing the April, 2012 when she attended an off-campus house party, she explained, "I was drinking. I drank a lot. And then -- from that point on, I really don't remember what happened. I woke up the next morning with bruises and I knew something wasn't right. But I had no recollection."

She says she started seeing buzz about the party on Facebook, and Twitter.

"And I come to find out that they're telling me I had sexual interactions with people that I was completely unaware of," she said.

Her grasp on details is shaky, she told Glor. "I remember -- just waking up in certain spots, but I do not ever remember any of the assaults or -- sexually engaging any of these individuals."

The woman said she knew all three of the men.

Glor remarked, "You said you had a lot to drink and you don't really remember anything. How then can you be so sure of what happened?"

"Well, one, you know, I have outside witnesses," she said. "The attackers had bragged about it. They had told me to my face -- what they did."

"One of the individuals, he had tweeted, 'The train tickets were on the low.' He was insinuating that it was easy -- that I didn't put up much a fight or that it was an easy to engage in these sexual acts," she explained, adding, "And he thought it was funny."

She said the alleged perpetrator addressed the incident with her directly, too, "He said, 'Don't be mad, I'm saying it to your face.' Like -- 'I'm just joking.' And --"

"That you were easy?" Glor asked.

"Uh-huh," she said.

Immediately following that night, the student went to see a doctor at the Naval Academy. She was offered a rape kit, but refused, explaining now that she was in denial. She did not officially report the incident to school officials until this January.

A month later, she told her mother.

Asked what she remembered about that moment, the woman's mother said, "She just said that she was permitted to come home for a special weekend to talk to me. And when I asked what about and she said, 'After the International Ball, I had been raped.' And I just -- I mean, what do you say? I just told her, 'I'm so sorry.' I'm so sorry for her. And I -- only thing I can do is just be there for her."

After reporting the incident, the student says she felt ostracized from her fellow shipmates and made to believe it was her fault. The turning point, she says, came later during one of the academy's routine sexual assault briefings, where she felt all eyes were focused on her.

"It was really upsetting," the woman said. "I went to the bathroom, I just sat in the stall and cried. And it just so happened that there was another girl sitting right next to me and she was crying, too. And she had come at the stall and she was like, 'You know, you can come out.' And she just hugged me. And we just hugged each other. And I don't know her name to this day. I didn't know her prior to that. But-- unfortunately, we shared that same experience. And it just brought the whole situation to reality that there is a much bigger problem than just this one circumstance that had happened."

The student says when she told school officials she was worried about her safety, they made no guarantees for her protection and told her their hands were tied. She told Glor that she remains worried about retaliation

"You know, there isn't a moment that I -- at school, that I don't look over my shoulder, or aware of the people around me," she said, "I received a lot of hostility, not even from the attackers, but from their teammates."

CBS News asked the Naval Academy for an interview, but the school said they could not speak on camera because this is an ongoing investigation. They issued us a statement, saying "Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication. It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation...as we risk compromising the military justice process."

While that process continues -- and even after it's over -- the student says she has no plans to leave school and intends to graduate.

"This has been my dream for a long time," she said, "I'm not gonna let this assault define me or change who I am or what I wanted to do. The military's not perfect. The academy's not perfect. These are obviously some serious situations that need to be addressed. But I haven't lost hope."

The Naval Academy also told CBS News in a statement that sexual assault is a crime and has no place at the U.S. Naval Academy, just as it has no place in the rest of the military.

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