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Navy drops charges against another midshipman in Academy rape

Sexual assault charges have been dismissed against one of three former U.S. Naval Academy football players accused of raping a female classmate, a spokesperson for the U.S. Naval Academy tells NBC News. 

That leaves just one of three original defendants in the case still facing a court martial.

The charges against Midshipman Eric Graham were dismissed one week after a military judge threw out a key piece of evidence against Graham. The evidence — a statement to NCIS — was deemed inadmissible because he made it without being read his Miranda rights. 

"The Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) informed the Superintendent of his recommendation to dismiss charges against Midshipman Graham, citing no reasonable grounds to believe a crime of sexual assault was committed by Midshipman Graham due to the absence of evidence," spokesperson Cmdr. John Schofield said Friday.

A female midshipmen accused three midshipmen — all football players on the Academy team at the time — of sexually assaulting her at a party off campus in the spring of 2012. She also charged that they later bragged about the assault on social media.

Charges already were dismissed against one of the other former football players (he is now an ensign in the Navy) following an exhaustive eight-day hearing on the matter.

The court martial case against the third man, Midshipman Joshua Tate, is expected to begin in February. 

The female midshipmen filed a lawsuit against the Naval Academy and the Superintendent late in 2013, arguing that the Superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael Miller, personally intervened in the case out of concern over his own self-interest. The suit was filed in Federal Court in Maryland.