Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 36 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 

 

Speakeasy Speed Test

 
 
click to go to advertisers website
 
Navy reviewing 2007 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' abuse case
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Navy reviewing 2007 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' abuse case

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

The Navy is reviewing how it handled the case of Joseph Rocha, a Gay sailor abused by fellow servicemen in Bahrain for two years until he sought a discharge by coming out to his commanding officer, a military spokesman said September 22.

Now a 23-year-old civilian, Rocha said he decided to leave the Navy in 2007 by telling his commander he was Gay, putting him in violation of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy. Before his discharge from active duty, Rocha had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder from the constant hazing he says he was subjected to while he served with military dog handlers based in Bahrain in support of the Iraq war.

Between 2005 and 2006, an internal Navy investigation into Rocha's unit found dozens of examples of hazing and sexual harassment. According to Youth Radio - an Oakland, California news organization that broke the story - the result of the investigation was not clear; a copy of the report released under the Freedom of Information Act has all recommendations blacked out.

Now, congressman and former Navy admiral Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) has asked Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus for information about the harassment, the service's internal investigation, and an explanation as to why the head of the military dog unit at the time was promoted.

"Without a question, it heightens and makes more salient this issue," said Rep. Sestak. "It [DADT] highlights the loss of another good individual."

The Chief of Naval Operation directed Commander Navy Installations Command on September 22 to review the actions taken after the earlier investigation.

Opponents of DADT say Rocha was trapped. He was unable to report the abuse because that would reveal his sexual orientation. The policy clearly played a role in the abuse; Rocha was repeatedly asked if he was Gay - which is in violation of the DADT provision - because he would not have sex with prostitutes who visited the unit's barracks in Bahrain. In the end, due to the abuse and the PTSD he suffered from it, he told the Navy he was Gay, resulting in his expulsion.

Maine resident Shaun Hogan was a former Bahrain colleague of Rocha's. Hogan, now a reservist, said Rocha was treated worse than others who were hazed because Rocha was believed to be Gay. Hogan said sailors in the unit would blatantly ask him, "Are you Gay?"

"He was one of a large number of people who were abused for a variety of different reasons," Hogan said.

Rocha's story is one of success in the Navy, which quickly turned sour when he arrived in Bahrain. He graduated at the top of his military police training school in Texas and received favorable performance evaluations throughout his career. Rocha said he enlisted in the Navy in 2004 to demonstrate his commitment to earning an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy after he wasn't admitted to the school.

But within in a month of his arrival in Bahrain in 2005 to join the handlers and their dogs in seeking out hidden explosives, Rocha said he found an abusive atmosphere in which he was hazed repeatedly, even though he never said he was Gay.

"What made my rite of passage different is that I refused to have sex with prostitutes," Rocha said. "In doing so, I gave them reason enough for them to think I was Gay and they took it upon themselves to punish me for it for two years."

In June 2007, he was accepted at the academy prep school in Newport, Rhode Island, where candidates build the academic skills needed for an acceptance to the four-year service academy. While there, Rocha said depression resulting from his experience in Bahrain made him decide to tell school officials he was Gay. Accordingly, he was isolated from other students for two months, then honorably discharged in October 2007.

"I was faced with the idea of being in the Navy that condoned this for another decade," Rocha said. "I wouldn't have allowed myself to live like that anymore."

Rocha is currently a student at the University of San Diego and hopes he can one day return to serve openly in the military. Currently, there is a push by Gay advocacy groups to repeal the 1993 law. President Barack Obama pledged as a candidate to end the ban, but has yet to do so. Nearly 400 servicemembers have been discharged under DADT since Obama took office in January.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

150,000 Gay couples report marriage to census
------------------------------
Unexpected discrimination over makeup at Pink concert
------------------------------
An injury to one is an injury to all - Organized labor mobilizes for Referendum 71
------------------------------
Gay man likely to be new German foreign minister
------------------------------
Prop 8 déjà vu in Maine
------------------------------
LGBTQ resource center opens at Bellevue College
------------------------------
Tour de Life: The unwritten rules of bizarre masculine gym etiquette
------------------------------
Seattle Squadron bound for San Diego
------------------------------
Marsha Botzer to speak at National Equality March
------------------------------
Robert Raketty steps down from GLSEN
------------------------------
Lifelong AIDS Alliance holds 23rd annual Seattle AIDS walk
------------------------------
Navy reviewing 2007 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' abuse case
------------------------------
Marriage equality proposed for District of Columbia
------------------------------
2009 Jaguar XF Supercharged
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
National Equality March
------------------------------
It isn't marriage, but partners now have rights they've long sought
------------------------------
Obama to Speak at HRC Dinner on Eve of National Equality March
------------------------------
D.C. to Introduce Same-Sex Marriage Bill
------------------------------
HARRY REID SUPPORTS 'DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL' REPEAL
------------------------------
Approve Ref. 71: Party with a Purpose at The BottleNeck Lounge!
------------------------------
Coming Out in Middle School
------------------------------
ACLU case: Montana High Court Affirms Rights Of Lesbian Parent And Her Children
------------------------------
'Why I Support the National Equality March': NFL's Scott Fujita Speaks Out for Gay Rights
------------------------------
Congress acts to extend hate crimes to cover gays
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

 

http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2009

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News