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Navy Condemns Leaders for Faulty Hazing Probe


Naval leaders are being criticized for their lack of efforts to investigate hazing allegations against a gay sailor who was stationed in a K9 unit in Bahrain.

Petty Officer Joseph Rocha said that he was forced out of the military in June 2007 after high levels of hazing based on his sexual orientation. A letter to retired Vice Adm. Robert T. Conway, who was the final endorser of Rocha's case, criticized him for an incomplete investigation, according to the Associated Press.

"More should have been done to determine what officers in the chain of command knew about allegations of hazing and what actions they took to address those allegations," the letter from the Chief of Navy Operations read.

Rocha was discharged from the Navy because in reporting his abuse, he also admitted to being gay, therefore violating the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"It started with normal stuff, and it escalated to being hosed down in uniform to being forced to act out scenarios, homosexual scenarios on tape with military attack dogs, to being hog-tied or tied to a chair and left in a dog kennel with feces," Rocha told in October.

In addition to Rocha's case, the Navy reviewed 93 hazings between 2004 and 2006 in his unit. The former unit leader, Michael Toussaint is scheduled to appear before a retirement grade determination board in Norfolk, Va., on Feb. 4, said Navy spokeswoman Cmdr. Elissa Smith.

Rocha said that Toussaint specifically led the hazing against him, but instead of being court-martialed, he was promoted.

"Toussaint is the one who ordered most of all the abuse and he is the one that indoctrinated the sailors in my unit as to my being a homosexual," Rocha said. "He literally told them, 'This kid is gay.'"

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