12_10_02 M AFA 2

The Air Force Academy’s Honor Code is displayed on the school’s terrazzo. Gazette file photo.

An Air Force Academy cadet accused of raping a woman in 2017 was found not guilty last week during a general court-martial, the academy said Tuesday.

Junior cadet Michael Crotts was accused of raping the woman “at or near Colorado Springs” between March 1 and April 1, 2017, his charge sheet says. The charge — an alleged violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — was filed this March.

The case was heard by a panel of eight officers, who listened to the testimony and reviewed the evidence, the academy said. Crotts was found not guilty Friday.

While military defendants can choose to face trial by a single judge, almost all choose the jury option. Military juries are unlike civilian panels because unanimous consent isn’t required for a verdict. Instead, a two-thirds majority can decide. The military jury also has wide discretion in sentencing.

The nation’s military academies have been under the microscope this year over concerns that the vast majority of sexual assaults by their students go unreported.

“The academy is committed to fostering a culture where each person gives and receives dignity and respect,” the academy said in a news release announcing the acquittal.

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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