Naval Academy professor charged with inappropriate conduct
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  1. #1

    Cool Naval Academy professor charged with inappropriate conduct

    January 09, 2006
    Naval Academy professor charged with inappropriate conduct
    By Ben Nuckols
    Associated Press

    BALTIMORE — A Naval Academy professor who allegedly made sexually offensive remarks to midshipmen has been charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and other offenses.

    An attorney for Lt. Bryan Black, who teaches oceanography at the academy in Annapolis, said the charges are baseless and that the language his client used was mild in a military setting.

    According to court documents, Black used “crude, sexual terms” to refer to his ex-wife in at least two conversations with midshipmen. He’s also accused of using sexually offensive language to describe his admiration for battleships in a conversation with several midshipmen, at least one of them female. Both incidents occurred in August.

    “The comments my client made are nothing that midshipmen would not have seen in the movie ‘Top Gun,’ ” said Charles Gittins, Black’s attorney, on Saturday. “In fact, one of the comments he made is right out of ‘Top Gun,’ except it refers to a battleship” instead of a plane.

    In a motion to dismiss the charges, Gittins argues that Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, the academy superintendent, pursued the case against his client only after he was rebuked by two members of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, including U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., for his handling of sexual harassment at the academy.

    Cmdr. Rod Gibbons, a Naval Academy spokesman, confirmed in a statement that Black had been charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, indecent language and failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation. He declined to discuss specifics of the case or Rempt’s role, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.

    “The standard is very clear: The Navy does not tolerate sexual harassment, misconduct or assault; these issues are taken seriously, all allegations are thoroughly investigated, people are held accountable for their actions and due process is ensured,” Gibbons wrote.

    Gittins did not dispute that his client used obscene epithets to refer to his former wife, but said they were in private conversations with male midshipmen.

    He said Black apologized to a female midshipman after he made comments about a battleship that referred to male and female sexual arousal.

    The midshipman considered the matter closed and never filed a complaint under the academy’s sexual harassment policy, said Gittins, who predicted that the woman “is going to be dragged kicking and screaming into this.”

    The nation’s military academies have been clouded by allegations of sexual harassment in recent years. Last summer, a Defense Department task force reported that hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment of women persist at the Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

    Gittins said the report has resulted in “oversensitivity and the rush to criminalize any conduct by a male that isn’t particularly sensitive to what the Naval Academy leadership now perceives as appropriate language.”

    He added: “I’m a graduate of the academy. This makes me sick.”

    A preliminary investigative report into the allegations concluded that “Lt. Black’s actions do not warrant criminal processing,” and that he should receive a letter of caution and formal counseling.

    Instead, Gittins said, Rempt pushed for a special court-martial. Black was formally charged in October, according to court documents. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday, followed by the court-martial on Jan. 30.

    A special court-martial is an intermediate level of military trial, and Black would not face a discharge or incarceration if convicted. He could lose two-thirds of his monthly wages for a year and receive a punitive letter of reprimand, Gittins said.

    If convicted, Black could be discharged in a separate proceeding, Gittins said.

    In an appeal to the secretary of the Navy, Black noted that the investigation began shortly after the academy was criticized by the military task force. “I believe I am the ‘poster child’ being held out as an example,” he wrote.

    Through his attorney, Black declined to comment Saturday.

    In addition to the comments about his ex-wife and battleships, the documents show that Black “often discussed inappropriate topics with the midshipmen,” including “his previous sexual encounters with strippers, Hooter’s waitresses and other women that he dated. Further, he would discuss his encounters in overseas strip clubs.”

    Students in his classes also complained about the language Black used in end-of-semester critiques, the documents show. He was counseled by his department head, after which his behavior improved.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

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  2. #2
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    Let he or she who is without sin throw the first stone but then again the LT. should have known better.
    I think that a punitive letter of reprimand is in order if found guilty.


  3. #3
    Some of the comments the DIs made when I was in basic would have gotten them in really deep **** if there had been any females around.

    While doing order arms: "Now bring your hand back like Dennis Rodman is about to suck your **** and you're trying to sway him off."


  4. #4

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