Admiral Denies Shielding Staffer

Associated Press

The admiral who designed the Navy's ethics training denied Saturday that he protected a staffer accused of making homosexual advances, saying he was removed from his post because of the outcry that the Tailhook sex scandal created.

"We are literally wounding the very leadership that is at the very heart of everything our military stands for," Vice Adm. Jack Fetterman said. "I think the country should be very concerned about that."

Fetterman, 59, was removed as chief of naval education and training and resigned his 37-year military career at a reduced rank, Navy officials said Friday. He allegedly protected an aide on his staff who was accused of making homosexual advances toward other enlisted men.

Fetterman said the Navy has been gripped by a "climate of suspicion and innuendo" because of the scandal, and that retirement would allow him to speak out.

The Navy is investigating complaints that some 70 aviators fondled and stripped clothing from 26 women, many of them fellow officers, during a convention last year in Las Vegas of the Tailhook Assn., a group of current and retired Navy aviators.

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