US Naval Academy removes instructor implicated in misconduct

AP News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2016 1:42 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A U.S. Naval Academy instructor implicated in sexual misconduct is being removed from his position, and the academy says if it had known about a former student's sexual misconduct accusation against him he would not have been allowed to teach.

The school confirmed Tuesday that Marine Maj. Michael Pretus, a history teacher since 2014, is no longer teaching. The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1WQEN9F ) reports Pretus' removal comes amid a new investigation of his friend Maj. Mark Thompson, who was convicted in 2013 of committing indecent acts, fraternization and conduct unbecoming an officer while an academy instructor. One student alleged Thompson assaulted her; another reported an ongoing sexual relationship. The second student also reported having sex with Thompson and Pretus, who wasn't then a teacher at the school.

The Naval Academy says Pretus was an instructor from the summer of 2014 to April 2016 and that he is "no longer in a teaching status." The academy says he has orders for reassignment with an early May departure date.

"The Naval Academy had no knowledge of any involvement in this case prior to his receipt of orders here. Under no circumstances would the Naval Academy have allowed for assignment on staff and faculty had there been disclosure of the circumstances and details of his involvement in that event," Naval Academy spokesman Cdr. John Schofield said in a statement.

The Washington Post reports Pretus declined to comment on whether he had ever had sex with one of the two students involved in Thompson's case. The paper says under military law, an officer having sex with a midshipman is a crime, as is having sex with two people at the same time, something the former student alleged she, Thompson and Pretus did.

Marine Corps spokesman Rex Runyon confirmed that the Marine Corps is examining new evidence in Thompson's case, but said he could not provide additional details because it is an ongoing investigation.

The Washington Post says the new investigation into Thompson began after it reported on the contents of a long-missing cellphone that contained texts between Thompson and the midshipman who said they had been involved in a relationship. The paper reported that Pretus was a defense witness at Thompson's court-martial, but that he now says he will be a witness for the prosecution.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com