Sex Cases Spur Order for Navy ‘Stand-Down’

From The Washington Post

After what he called a “rash” of cases of sexual misconduct by naval personnel, capped by the disclosure of a groping incident aboard a commercial airliner, the Navy’s top admiral announced Thursday that he would order the entire Navy to take a day off from normal duties to “take a hard look at ourselves.”

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda said the “stand-down,” which will affect 430,000 active-duty personnel, would take place in the near future. It is a procedure in which each unit stops its normal work and gathers to listen to and discuss Navy regulations and standards of conduct.

The last all-Navy stand-down was called in 1992 to discuss sexual harassment in light of the 1991 Tailhook scandal, in which naval aviators groped female colleagues at an annual convention. Defense Secretary William J. Perry recently ordered a more limited stand-down of U.S. military personnel stationed in Okinawa, Japan, after the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl allegedly involving a Navy seaman and two Marines.

Boorda’s announcement follows a report in Thursday’s Washington Post that a chief petty officer allegedly groped a junior enlisted woman while the two flew across country on an American Airlines flight. While the woman screamed and cursed and tried to push the man away, about 20 other sailors on board, including two officers, did little to intercede.