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New charges being filed against Naval Academy instructor

Major Mark Thompson, Major Michael Pretus
Major Michael Pretus  (left) and Major Mark Thompson (right).

The military is filing new charges against a former U.S. Naval Academy instructor convicted in 2013 of committing indecent acts, fraternization and conduct unbecoming an officer. This move comes just days after a second Marine, Major Michael Pretus, was removed from his teaching position at the U.S Naval Academy as well involved in the Thompson scandal.

The Installations Command announced in a statement Thursday that Maj. Mark Thompson is charged with making a false official statement and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. An Article 32 hearing will be held next month at Base Quantico to determine whether a court-martial is warranted.

The charges come after the Washington Post reported that Thompson lied under oath in 2014 to an administrative board. Thompson told the newspaper he was under pressure.

The Post reports that one accuser, Sarah Stadler, said she feels “vindicated” by the new charges. Thompson has maintained that he did nothing wrong.

Originally accused of rape in 2013, Thompson was acquitted and allowed to stay in the Marine Corps following two months in the brig and a $60,000 fine.

Though Thompson denies that there was ever a relationship between the pair, a long lost cellphone owned by Stadler could confirm what prosecutors have suspected all along — that Thompson lied under oath.

“I can confirm that the Marine Corps is examining new evidence that has recently come to light as a result of the Washington Post article about Maj. Thompson’s case,” said Rex A. Runyon, a Marine Corps spokesman. “I cannot provide additional details as it is our policy not to discuss ongoing investigations.” That investigation yielded in new charges being filed.

Unfortunately for Thompson, the texts on Stadler’s phone may imply that not only was he conversing inappropriately with Stadler, they were also having a sexual relationship. That investigation in texts led to charges being filed against Major Michael Pretus.

When confronted by journalists at the beginning of this year, Thompson acknowledged that Stadler had come to his house the night after graduation but insisted she did so only to give him a pair of commemorative glasses and her photograph.

Stadler was expelled from the military in 2014 after lying about a relationship with an enlisted man. Since then, the US Government has tried to recoup over $85,000 from her for the time she owed the Navy after graduation. Seeking debt forgiveness, Stadler hoped that working with authorities to take down Thompson might help her cause.

“The right thing to do,” she said, “is to see that justice is served.”

USMC Life staff writers contributed to this report.

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