Navy Doctor Guilty Of Making Sex Tapes

The United States Naval Academy is shown in Annapolis, Md., in this May 10, 2007, file photo. Maryland found out Friday, Sept. 28, 2007, it will play host to another Mideast peace summit at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in November, when President Bush plans to meet in Annapolis with Arab and Israeli leaders for a fresh attempt at establishing an independent Palestinian state. (AP Photo/Kathleen Lange)
AP Photo/Kathleen Lange
A Navy doctor was found guilty Friday of using a hidden camera to record Naval Academy midshipmen engaged in sex acts.

The jury of six Navy captains deliberated for six hours over two days before finding Cmdr. Kevin Ronan guilty of seven counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, three counts of illegal wiretapping and one count of obstruction of justice.

Ronan, 41, stood at attention and showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read at the Washington Navy Yard.

Navy prosecutors alleged Ronan used a camera hidden in an air purifier to record the male midshipmen having sex with girlfriends or masturbating while they stayed in guest bedrooms at his home in Annapolis, Md. They were there as part of an academy program that places students in private homes during their free time.

Ronan testified this week that he bought the device to make sure the students didn't throw parties while he wasn't home. He said he tested it once, but later used it only to clean the air in the spare bedrooms, not for taping.

Prosecutors said Ronan began using the device for taping as early as May 2006. Two men, one a midshipman, the other a former student, found the recordings in January and turned them over to authorities.

His father, Frank Ronan, said he was "sick, devastated and blown away" by the verdict. "We did not expect this," he said.

During the trial, Ronan's lawyer alleged that the men who claimed to have found the tapes actually made them in a plot to extort money. William Ferris highlighted the checkered records of both, saying the former midshipman was expelled from the academy for poor grades and later tried to forge his official transcript.

"This was a plan to extort money from Mr. Ronan that went awry," Ferris had said.

Ronan is a pediatrician assigned to the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington. From 2002 to 2006, he ran a clinic at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and was a doctor for several Navy sports teams.

The same military jury is now slated to consider a sentence ranging from no formal punishment to more than 27 years in the brig. Ronan also faces dismissal from the Navy.