Navy officer is acquitted of harassing female aides Captain once was Navy's top civil rights officer

October 20, 1995|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- A court-martial yesterday cleared the Navy's former highest-ranking equal-opportunity officer of sexual harassment and related charges involving two female subordinates.

Military jurors concluded after six days that the evidence against Capt. Everett Greene, 47, the highest Navy officer to be court-martialed since World War II, was insufficient.

The evidence showed he had sent affectionate cards and notes, some of which appeared sexually suggestive, to the complaining women officers but had never touched them or tried to pressure them into sexual acts.

The captain, whose duties once included reviewing complaints of sexual and racial discrimination, had been put in charge of the Navy's effort to recover from the 1991 Tailhook scandal.

Captain Greene told reporters after the verdict that he now expects to become a one-star admiral, a promotion that has been on hold since February.

However, he still could face administrative punishment from embarrassed Navy officials, including withdrawal of his promotion.

The Navy earlier had tried to settle the matter without going to trial and had proposed an administrative hearing. But Captain Greene said he wanted to confront his accusers in a general court-martial.

Captain Greene is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy who served two years in the equal-opportunity post. He currently heads an elite Navy SEAL commando unit in San Diego.

He is married and the father of three children.

He acknowledged sending cards, notes and poems over a 10-month period to Lt. Mary Felix, who worked in his office, but he said she was experiencing medical problems and personal crises in her life and he was merely trying to comfort her.

His notes, which the prosecutor, Cmdr. Carol J. Cooper, introduced into evidence, included such phrases as "thanks . . . for making one of my dreams come true; whenever you need to be adored, I will be there," and, "I have never tried to get you to do anything in violation of your religious beliefs against your will."

Toward the end of the trial, the presiding judge dismissed charges involving the second complainant, Lt. Pamela Castrucci, grounds the prosecution had failed to present compelling evidence.

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