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Naval Academy superintendent steps down

WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- The vice admiral who heads the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., has resigned from the Navy after an investigation revealed he "improperly interfered" with a guard at the campus gate on Dec. 31, 2002.

The investigation also found his leadership style -- described by staff as "overly confrontational or demeaning in nature" -- as bad for the morale of the school's staff.

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Vice Admiral Richard J. Naughton resigned his post at the school and resigned from active duty.

His resignation stems from a New Year's Eve confrontation when Naughton returned to campus after a private dinner dressed in civilian clothes. Challenged at the gate for identification by a Marine sentry, Naughton grabbed the guard's wrist.

The investigation by the Navy's inspector general substantiated the confrontation with the guard and said Naughton was guilty of a "general failure to promote good morale" at the school.

Naughton was formally reprimanded May 28 by the vice chief of Naval Operations. Naughton met with Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of Naval Operations, June 3 and resigned, according to the Navy. He served just under a year as superintendent.

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Naughton told Clark "it was clear his efforts at the Naval Academy had had a disruptive effect on some elements of the faculty and that his continued service as the superintendent could adversely affect the academy's primary mission," according to the Navy.

Naughton is the fifth of the three elite military academies' leaders to be replaced this year. The superintendent of the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs and three other officials were replaced this spring in the wake of revelations that more than 30 cadets had been raped or assaulted by other cadets on campus, and many of the victims felt uncomfortable reporting the crimes to school officials.

Naughton, a fighter pilot, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968, and once commanded the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

The Naval Academy has more than 4,200 students, all of whom agree to at least four years of service as officers in the Navy in exchange for a free education.

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