A second Naval Academy teacher has been removed from his teaching position after allegations of sexual misconduct.
Marine Major Michael Pretus is an 18-year Marine Corps veteran who served in the Second Battle of Fallujah. His longtime friend and fellow Marine, Mark Thompson, is now being investigated again following a conviction three years ago for having sex with two female midshipmen while a teacher at the academy
The Washington Post reports that Pretus — a key witness at Thompson’s 2013 court-martial — has now agreed to testify against his longtime friend. Thompson was sentenced to two months in prison and fined $60,000 for the conviction on five charges related to sexual misconduct, but was acquitted of rape.
A decade ago Pretus and Thompson were assigned to platoons on the same day. They reconnected at Quantico years later and remained close. Pretus, a decorated combat vet, came to visit Thompson in Annapolis in 2011. Pretus was giving a presentation to Thompson’s students. Investigators say it was during that trip that the two war buddies had a threesome with Sarah Stadler — a former student.
The new investigation into Thompson was launched after The Post reported on the contents of Stadler’s long-missing cellphone.
According to the Post, “Many of the more than 650 messages she and Thompson exchanged appear to contradict what he said under oath in 2014 to an administrative board that was deciding whether he should be expelled from the Marines.”
Some of those texts refer to a “Mike” — presumably Pretus. Stadler and Thompson reportedly used exercise terms as code for sex. “c u for our run later,” one of them said, for example.
Stadler and a female friend claim that on the night of April 30, 2011, they stopped by Thompson’s off-campus house after the “boozy annual croquet match.” The women claimed that Thompson “served them shots of tequila before they played strip poker and staggered to his bedroom, where he had sex with both of them.”
The female friend alleged that he raped her. Pretus’ testimony was crucial to rebutting the women’s version of events.
He told the court that after returning home from Annapolis, he spoke by phone with Thompson several times on the same night the women later alleged that he had sex with them.
During the trial, Stadler saw Mike for the first time since they allegedly had sex that April night and she reported him to Navy officials. Pretus did not cooperate with investigators and in 2014 he was given a teaching position in Annapolis. He’s been there two years as a history teacher and also as a mentor.
“I was incredibly disgusted and discouraged,” Stadler said this week, “because I just couldn’t believe someone who already broke laws and rules knowingly . . . was now working at an institution where he was supposed to interact and influence young midshipmen.”
Stadler has since been kicked out of the Navy for lying about her relationship with an enlisted sailor.
During a board of inquiry, three Marine officers voted 2 to 1 that Thompson should not have been found guilty of sexual misconduct. All three agreed that he should be allowed to stay in the service.
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