The Latest: 5 Merchant Marine athletes sue to graduate

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (AP) The Latest on an investigation into alleged abuse involving members of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy soccer team (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Five soccer players at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy have filed lawsuits after being told they would not be permitted to graduate this weekend.

The five are among seven players that a Long Island congressman said have been told they won't be graduating because of an investigation into possible sexual harassment.

The lawsuits were filed Monday and Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

The court papers do not indicate any allegations of sexual harassment. The documents speak of alleged hazing of a freshman member of the team during a September visit to Rhode Island for a game against the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

The players deny being involved in hazing.

One lawsuit involves one player. The second lawsuit is on behalf of five players.

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11:08 a.m.

A congressman says seven members of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy soccer team won't be graduating this weekend amid an investigation into possible sexual harassment.

Rep. Peter King says he doesn't have many other details about the investigation, which led to the team's suspension.

Newsday first reported the academy's superintendent, Rear Admiral James Helis (HEHL'-ihs), sent an email to students and faculty last week about the suspension.

The probe is being conducted by the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Transportation, the academy's overseer.

Last year, a program that places academy midshipmen on commercial vessels was temporary suspended amid concerns about sexual abuse and harassment.

Officials at the DOT and Merchant Marine Academy did not immediately comment.

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