WEST POINT, N.Y. -- A West Point cadet was acquitted Saturday of sexually assaulting a fellow cadet he was dating.
A panel of five Army officers reached a not-guilty verdict in the military trial of Cadet Lukas M. Saul.
Saul, 23, had been charged with violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice involving inappropriate contact with a cadet without her consent in 2012.
"West Point takes all allegations very seriously," Lt. Col. Chris Kasker, West Point's director of public affairs, said in a statement released following the verdict. "In this particular case, a court-martial was held to find the truth and the panel has determined Cadet Saul is innocent of all charges. All the facts were presented in a full and open hearing and the issue was resolved in a manner consistent with military law and due process requirements."
Testifying during the three-day proceeding, the accuser, now a second lieutenant, described three times when she said Saul forced himself on her, both on and off West Point grounds. She said that the first time, in the basement at her parents' home, he would not stop having oral sex with her despite her pleas for him to stop.
The prosecution described Saul as a Jekyll-and-Hyde type with a darker side he showed behind closed doors. But defense lawyer Gil Spencer said the pair had consensual sex over the 17 months they dated after meeting during their plebe year.
Saul, of Ithaca, didn't graduate with his class last year and has been on administrative leave since August. The charges against him carried a maximum punishment of dismissal from the Army, forfeiture of pay and confinement for life.