Originally published on Advocate.com February 17 2011 7:10 PM ET
A witness in the federal case against the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is defending his claims of abuse after Navy officials ruled that the subsequent investigation was "flawed."
According to an article published last week by the Associated Press, officials said that an investigation into Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Rocha's claims of abuse by Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Toussaint while stationed in Bahrain was "of poor quality."
Rocha, however, has since defended his account of the hazing that occurred — abuse in which he testified in the case Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. In that lawsuit, a federal judge in September ruled unconstitutional the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prior to its legislative repeal in December (read an account of Rocha's testimony here).
A 2007 investigation found 93 instances of misconduct under Toussaint's
command; the Navy's top civilian officer as a result of the investigation said Toussaint's conduct in Bahrain “did not meet the standards expected of senior leadership in the Navy.” Toussaint is being forced to retire.
In a piece posted Sunday on the Huffington Post, Rocha wrote that while there were flaws in the investigation, Toussaint has hardly been exonerated. Rather, he remains "guilty of creating a highly intimidating climate of fear that involved systematic abuse," Rocha wrote.
"The bottom line is this[:] My commander created a climate of fear in my
unit which included a pattern of abuse, much of it directed at me," Rocha wrote. "I
did not complain about any of this, but an investigation was launched
nonetheless when another unit member notified authorities. Multiple
members of my unit testified about the abuse during the investigation.
Although there were flaws in that investigation, there was more than
enough evidence for the Navy to censure my commander for hazing, to
force him to retire and to state, officially, that he does not meet the
standards expected of a leader."