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Midshipman Disappears; Court-Martial Postponed

July 23, 1985|Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A 20-year-old midshipman accused of stealing was missing today from the U.S. Naval Academy grounds, forcing the Navy to postpone the scheduled start of his court-martial, officials said.

"The reasons behind his absence are being looked into now," said Cmdr. Kendell Pease, public affairs officer at the academy.

The scheduled court-martial of Clayton Lewis of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was the third at the academy in 63 years.

Lewis, a second-year midshipman, is charged with the theft of about $8,000 worth of clothing, record albums and other goods from the midshipmen's store.

Pease said Lewis had been restricted to a portion of the academy grounds. However, the area is open to the public, so Lewis could have simply walked off the grounds.

Lewis is charged with larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, receipt of stolen goods and an earlier unauthorized absence from the Naval Academy.

The maximum penalty for conviction on all charges would be confinement for 11 years and six months at hard labor, discharge from the Navy and forfeiture of all pay and allowances, academy spokesman Dennis Boxx said.

Boxx said this is only the third time that the academy has convened a court-martial since 1922, when a midshipman was convicted in a hazing case. The most recent court-martial at the academy stemmed from a 1980 automobile accident on academy grounds in which a midshipman was killed.

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