Navy Admiral Retires After Being Found Guilty of Sexual HarassmentH. JOSEF HEBERT , Associated Press
Dec. 9, 1995 1:13 AM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) _ In the latest in a string of embarrassments for the Navy, a senior admiral in Europe has retired early after being demoted and censured for sexually harassing a subordinate with whom he had a yearlong affair.
A Navy review panel found Rear Adm. Ralph L. Tindal, deputy commander of NATO forces in Spain and Portugal, guilty of adultery, fraternization, conduct unbecoming an officer and sexual harassment, the Navy said Friday.
The episode is only the latest in a number of setbacks for the Navy involving sexual misconduct in recent months as the service continues to struggle with the aftermath of the 1991 Tailhook sex scandal.
Last month, another admiral was forced to retire after suggesting that three U.S. servicemen accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa, Japan, should have hired a prostitute.
The case involving Tindal, 55, was especially troublesome to Navy officials because it involved a very senior, veteran commander and a young enlisted subordinate, said a Navy officer familiar with the case.
Tindal's case was heard earlier this week by a panel of officers before a so-called ``admiral's mast'' _ or private administrative hearing.
The panel concluded that Tindal was guilty of the charges and directed that he be demoted, be given a punitive letter of reprimand, pay a fine of $7,868 equivalent to a month's pay, and be placed under house arrest for 30 days, said Adm. Kendell Pease, a Navy spokesman.
After he was told of his punishment, Tindal, a 35-year Navy veteran and former submarine commander, requested early retirement. Pease said the request was granted on Thursday and that Tindal will be demoted by one rank, meaning a reduction in pension by about $600 a month.
Tindal, who is married, could not be reached Friday night for comment.
But Navy officials said the severe administrative penalty reflects the Navy's particular intolerance for cases in which senior officers abuse their position of authority with female subordinates.
Despite the consensual nature of the relationship, the young enlisted woman was viewed as basically a victim, said one official familiar with the case. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, has been ordered to undergo counseling, but will remain in the Navy. No punitive action was taken against her, the official said.
The official, who spoke on the condition he not be identified further, said Tindal had had an intimate relationship with the woman for about a year and there were incidents of late night telephone calls and other harassment when she tried to break it off.
The incident reflects the continuing difficulties the Navy has had in cases of sexual misconduct _ a problem brought into the open four years ago with the Tailhook sexual harassment scandal.
Last month, the commander of U.S. Forces in the Pacific, Adm. Richard Macke, was sharply criticized for saying that three American servicemen accused of rape in Okinawa would have been better off had they hired a prostitute. He since has been forced to retire early.
A number of Navy officers _ as well as sailors _ were said to have done nothing to intervene on a commercial airline flight recently when a Navy petty officer repeatedly groped a female sailor in public.
And Navy Secretary John Dalton recently withdrew the promotion of the Navy's former senior equal opportunity officer when he was accused of sexually harassing a woman who worked for him. A Navy tribunal cleared the officer of misconduct.
Also last month, the Navy was embarrassed by the disclosure that 22 midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy had been implicated in either the sale or use of marijuana.
The Tindal investigation reportedly began with an anonymous telephone call last October to Navy officials in Washington.