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Hazing Probe Censure For Naval Petty Officer


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Michele Norris.

An update now on a story we reported last month about hazing by dog handlers at a naval base in Bahrain. Youth Radio's Rachel Krantz has the latest.

RACHEL KRANTZ: After Youth Radio reported on widespread hazing in a Bahrain K-9 unit. The Navy ordered a review of whether they had adequately addressed these allegations when they were first made. The conclusions of the report made public today are that the chief petty officer responsible for the abuse was not adequately punished. Michael Toussaint has now been censured, effectively ending his military career.

Here's Navy spokesperson Commander Elissa Smith.

Commander ELISSA SMITH (Navy Spokesperson): The incidents were not in keeping with the Navy values and standards and violated the Navy's long-standing prohibition against hazing.

KRANTZ: A previous investigation into the hazing at the base in Bahrain revealed widespread abuse of sailors and other misconduct, but there was little follow-up.

Today, the secretary of the Navy issued a letter of censure that will be part of Michael Toussaint's permanent military record. Until his retirement in January 2010, Toussaint will be reassigned to administrative duties.

Twenty-three-year-old Joseph Rocha served in the unit and experienced some of the worst abuse while under Toussaint's leadership. He says he believes Toussaint should be court-martialed. But he is pleased the abuse was investigated at the highest level.

Mr. JOSEPH ROCHA: Overall, I commend the CNO and the secretary of the Navy for wanting to look further into this, for ordering the second investigation that will look into how widespread the corruption was and how it went in our chain of command.

KRANTZ: The Navy has also ordered further investigation of the commissioned officers who served in Bahrain at the time of the hazing.

For NPR News, I'm Rachel Krantz. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Rachel Krantz