Ousted sailor says Navy’s anti-gay hazing led to PTSD


Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — Former Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Rocha says he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being physically and sexually abused by fellow sailors over a two-year period. But after a Navy investigation into widespread hazing allegations within the unit, the only sailor discharged was Rocha, because he also admitted that he is gay.

According to documents released by Youth Radio this week, Navy investigators found dozens of hazing incidents over a two-year span at the Military Working Dog unit in Naval Support Activity-Bahrain. At one point, the documents show, Rocha was hog-tied, fed dog food and tossed into a dog kennel full of feces. Commanders also openly questioned his sexuality and forced him to simulate oral sex on other men.

Following the investigation, Rocha sought treatment for PTSD and later admitted he is gay, the news outlet reported. Shortly thereafter, he was discharged under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibits homosexual troops from serving openly in the ranks.

However, the commander in charge of the unit at the time of the hazing did not lose his job, and was recently promoted to senior chief, documents show. Full story.

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