The former superintendents of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy were sued for alleged constitutional violations by two former female students who claim they were raped by classmates.
The ex-superintendents, the current secretaries of the Army and Navy, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates condoned “a culture which allowed sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape,” the women said in a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court.
Former West Point cadet Karley Marquet alleged in court papers an unidentified upperclassman raped her in 2011 and that authorities at the academy failed to protect her or take appropriate action when she reported the incident.
Former Naval Academy Midshipman Anne Kendzior said she was raped twice by unidentified classmates. Kendzior was forced to leave the academy without graduating, she said in the complaint.
The lawsuit, which claims the defendants violated the womens’ right to due process, equal protection and free speech, seeks unspecified damages.
“The Naval Academy’s sexual assault response and advocacy program is among the strongest in the nation,” William Marks, a spokesman for the academy in Maryland, said in an e-mailed statement. “The Naval Academy takes every report of potential sexual harassment or assault extremely seriously. Every unrestricted report of sexual assault is thoroughly investigated.”
Department of Defense spokeswoman Cynthia Smith declined to comment. Telephone messages and e-mails to the Military Academy in New York weren’t immediately returned. Brian Whitson, spokesman for The College of William & Mary, where Gates serves as college chancellor, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The case is Marquet v. Gates, 12-CV-3117, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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