Naval Academy Professor Removed after Sexual Accusation

The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., seen in 2007. Reports of sexual assaults at the three military academies jumped by more than 50 percent in the 2014-15 school year. Kathleen Lange, File/AP
The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., seen in 2007. Reports of sexual assaults at the three military academies jumped by more than 50 percent in the 2014-15 school year. Kathleen Lange, File/AP

A Marine and history professor at the Naval Academy has been removed from his position after academy officials learned of allegations that he had sex with a fellow Marine and a female midshipman in 2011, before he began teaching.

Maj. Michael Pretus was informed of his reassignment last month, according to Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. John Schofield.

Pretus' removal comes after Marine Corps investigators re-opened the case of Maj. Mark Thompson, an academy professor convicted in 2013 for having sex with two female midshipmen, according to The Washington Post. Thompson maintains his innocence.

Pretus initially challenged testimony from Thompson's accusers, Sarah Stadler and a classmate, the Post reported. Pretus was later investigated for engaging in a threesome in 2011 with Stadler and Thompson, according to the Post.

It is a crime for an officer to have sex with a midshipman, according to military law. It is also against military law to participate in a sex act with another person in the room, Schofield said.

Pretus was removed immediately after Marine Corps investigators informed academy officials of Pretus' alleged role in the relationship, Schofield said.

"The Naval Academy immediately initiated administrative actions to reassign Maj. Pretus upon discovery of his past involvement with Maj. Thompson and Ms. Stadler," he said. "There is an extremely high standard of behavior expected of our staff and faculty here. We determined that the behavior -- while pre-dating his assignment to USNA -- was not in keeping with those standards."

Schofield said the academy had "no knowledge" of Pretus' alleged involvement in the 2011 incident before he began teaching there.

"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," Schofield said.

Pretus is no longer in teaching and his orders for reassignment have been issued with an early May departure date from the academy, Schofield said.

Pretus could not immediately be reached for comment.

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