Navy officials determined that captain of a guided missile submarine failed to act after learning that sailors had created a “rape list” which detailed sexual acts they wanted to perform on female crew members.
According to Military.com, a 74-page investigative report into Florida’s Gold crew revealed that “lewd and sexist comments and jokes were tolerated, and trust up and down the chain of command was nonexistent.” The USS Florida—which had 32 women and 141 men aboard—was the second submarine to ingratiate women and its commanding officer, Captain Gregory Kercher, was fired in August for a reported loss in his confidence to lead.
In June, a sailor aboard the submarine printed the first list while stationed at the Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and gave it to a female petty officer the following day. Ten days later, the sailor reportedly printed the second list and provided it to the petty officer, noting that the lists were accessible through the submarine’s computer network and were updated every few weeks, the news outlet reported.
The same month, Kercher’s superior reportedly alerted him to the two lists: One which ranked female crew members and the second which had sexually-explicit comments next to each woman’s name.
“Rumors of a ‘rape list’ were promulgated throughout the crew, significant numbers of females became concerned for their safety, and male members who learned of the list were equally repulsed,” Rear Admiral Jeff Jablon, then-commander of Submarine Group 10, wrote to his superior days before Kercher was relieved of his duties, according to the news outlet.
Kercher reportedly called for a search of the submarine’s network to track down the list and identify those who were viewing it. However, he allegedly failed to start a formal investigation or notify his superiors.
Jablon wrote that Kercher’s actions “fell short” of what’s expected given the seriousness of the situation. The report alleged that Kercher claimed he didn’t open an investigation because “they only had a piece of paper.”
Navy officials said female officers felt unsafe because command didn’t do anything to determine who created or added to the list. According to Military.com, the report also alleged that a divisional-level leader told women aboard the submarine to “suck it up and not add to the drama.”
The report doesn’t state the exact reason why Kercher was removed from his position. However, in a statement, to the outlet, Vice Admiral Chas Richard, commander of US Submarine Forces, said they’ll continue to enforce “high standards of conduct and character in the Force.”
“I expect every submariner to treat one another with dignity and respect, and will hold our personnel accountable if they fall short of our standard,” he said.
[Featured image: Pixabay]