Michael Hamar

Navy Chief in Anti-Gay Hazing Case to Retire with Full Rank and Pay

Filed By Michael Hamar | February 18, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-gay, gays in the military, Joseph Rocha, sexual misconduct, suicide, U.S. Navy

As readers may recall, Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint (pictured), now based in Virginia Beach, was the ring leader in anti-gay hazing and other serious abuses at a military working-dog kennel in Bahrain. A female subordinate, Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Valdivia, committed suicide in the aftermath and Joseph Rocha left the Navy after being outed in the wake of the controversy. So what punishment is the Navy giving to Toussaint?

Retirement with an honorable discharge at his current grade level and full retirement pay. More after the jump.

Indeed, other than not being allowed to reinlist, Toussaint is receiving no punishment. This situation is a frightening indictment of how little the Navy cares about anti-gay and sexually inappropriate behavior by officers and others who hold sway over subordinate service members. The Virginian Pilot has coverage on this disgusting situation and here are some highlights:

A Navy senior chief petty officer censured over hazing and other serious abuses that allegedly took place under his leadership at a military working-dog kennel in Bahrain will retire with an honorable discharge and without a reduction in pay grade, the Navy said Thursday.

A 2007 command-level investigation, conducted after Toussaint left, documented more than 90 instances of hazing and abuse of junior personnel. Sailors told investigators that, among other things, they were hog-tied to chairs, instructed to act like dogs, ordered to simulate homosexual oral sex on tape, and forced to eat dog biscuits and get inside dirty kennels. No significant disciplinary actions resulted from that investigation.

While the statement made no mention of it, Toussaint's lawyer, Cmdr. Aaron Rugh, said the service also has decided to rescind a letter of censure - the Navy's harshest form of administrative action - that was issued against Toussaint in 2009. The Navy will replace it with a "slimmed down" letter, Rugh said.

The Navy was careful to point out that the pay grade review board was not tasked with determining Toussaint's innocence or guilt, and that its decisions are supposed to be based on the totality of a sailor's career.

It must be nice to have a career where heinous misconduct has no consequences - something most of us wouldn't know about. Indeed, one almost has to wonder whether or not Toussaint has some dirty pictures of some senior brass stashed as an "insurance policy."


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