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Accused midshipman finally gets her dress blues

February 16, 1997

BOSTON (AP) _ Accused of lying and threatened with expulsion from the Naval Academy, midshipman Jennifer Della Barba’s honor was officially restored Saturday aboard the oldest ship in the Navy.

In April, Ms. Della Barba was accused of violating the Navy honor code by lying after her boyfriend was found sleeping in her bed. The accusation came just weeks before she was to graduate from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Ms. Della Barba, 22, said her boyfriend fell asleep in her room after they had gone to a base medical clinic. When it was learned the clinic was closed, the academy superintendent recommended that she be expelled for lying.

Ms. Della Barba appealed, insisting she never told anyone the clinic was open. Last month, the secretary of the Navy granted her appeal, and ordered that she be given her degree and commission as a naval officer.

``This has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do,″ Ms. Della Barba said.

Aboard the 200-year-old USS Constitution, Ms. Della Barba of Weymouth shed her midshipman’s jacket for dress blues in a ceremony attended by uniformed officers, family, friends and politicians.

``All I can say is I’m glad this is over,″ said her boyfriend, Ty Steidle, a Marine Corps lieutenant.

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