Navy censures officer for anti-gay hazing

July 24, 2011 at 3:14 PM
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NORFOLK, Va., July 24 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Navy commander has been censured for allowing a subordinate to be tagged with anti-gay slurs, records show.

Cmdr. Liam Bruen ran Strike Fighter Squadron 136 at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, Va., at the time of the August 2009 incident. He was promoted to a ranking post on the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis before abruptly retiring in May, The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot reports.

At a meeting to pick call signs for new officers, Ensign Steve Crowston, a Dallas Cowboys fan, was given the call sign (quarterback Tony) "Romo's Bitch." Other tags considered for him were "Fagmeister" and "Gay boy."

Crowston filed a complaint, and the Navy inspector general ruled the incident constituted hazing, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

Bruen was ousted as operations officer on the Stennis in February. In May, his superiors recommended he be "detached for cause" for the incident and other violations.

He retired within days, and the Navy is investigating the circumstances.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus later found Bruen "failed to exercise appropriate leadership and demonstrated a profound lack of judgment."

Bruen dismissed the action "since I am not in the Navy and was not when the letter was written."

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