By Matthew A Ward
(Reuters) – A Navy panel ruled on Wednesday that the captain of an aircraft carrier who was penalized for producing bawdy videos with slurs against gays can remain in the service, officials said.
Captain Owen Honors was relieved of his command of the USS Enterprise in January and reassigned to administrative duties soon after the videos were made public.
Honors several years ago produced and starred in the videos, when he was second-in-command of the ship, and they were shown as on-board entertainment for the crew and pilots.
The videos, among other things, contained simulated masturbation and inane toilet humor.
They also had suggestive scenes of sailors in drag and a mock anal exam. As a result, they were an embarrassment for the Navy at a time the Pentagon sought to implement a new policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
A panel of three admirals on Wednesday unanimously ruled that Honors committed misconduct by making the videos and demonstrated substandard performance of his duty by leadership failure and lack of proper deportment, Beth Baker, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Mid Atlantic, said in a statement.
But he was allowed to stay in the service, she said.
The proceeding were held at a naval station in Norfolk, Virginia, where Honors continues to work for the Navy, his civilian attorney Charles Gittins said.
“He’s the kind of guy who wants action and who gets stuff done,” Gittins said. “He’s relieved and I think he’s ready to move on to his next job.”
The videos first surfaced in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper that serves the city of Norfolk.
Gittins said that Honors’ superiors were aware of the videos and only chose to relieve him of his command once they were made public.
“The fact is that the Navy was embarrassed by the publicity surrounding pieces of the videos taken out of context. They were labeled raunchy videos,” Gittins said.