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Blue Angels reputation tarnished by sexual harassment accusations

Missouri residents may have been shocked at the revelation that the reputation of the top-notch Blue Angels team has been tarnished by a scandal involving a former commander. A former Pensacola-based captain is facing accusations of tolerating a working environment in violation of military policies forbidding sexual harassment.

The man has been relieved of duty in California, where he was second-in-command at San Diego's Naval Base Coronado after additional details recently surfaced. While the Navy investigates the allegations of two or more years ago, he has been reassigned.

The accusations leveled against him include him allegedly permitting and at times encouraging "lewd speech, inappropriate comments, and sexually explicit humor" in the work environment. Allegations of sharing and electronic dissemination of pornographic pictures was also a focus of the investigation.

According to a statement released by the Navy, a complaint was filed with the inspector general of the Navy. It is unknown when it was filed.

CNN attempted to elicit a comment from the Navy man, but none was forthcoming. The commander of the U. S. Naval Air Forces, a Vice Admiral, said, "All Navy leaders, whether assigned to a highly visible unit like the 'Blues,' or to our installations, squadrons, ships and submarines, are held to the highest standards."

The military has come under recent fire for not sufficiently addressing sex abuse and harassment of women in its forces. This case is just the latest in a string where military commanders have come under investigation for their role in the violation of sexual harassment policies.

Whether your work environment is a cubicle or thousands of feet in the air, you have the right to be free from unwelcome sexual behavior while on duty. The military has their own chain of command for reporting such behavior. Civilians must rely on their human resources departments or supervisors to quell hostile working environments. Failing that, a Missouri employment law attorney may be able to file suit on your behalf.

Source: CNN, "Ex-Blue Angels commander reassigned during sexual harassment inquiry" Barbara Starr and Steve Almasy, Apr. 24, 2014

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