Tuesday, January 27, 1998

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Timothy McVeigh arrived at Honoulu Airport yesterday.
At right is his mother, Teri.

Navy man McVeigh
gets back to work

A federal court in Washington delays
his ouster while the case involving
gay charges is litigated

By Lori Tighe

Elated, surprised and hopeful, Timothy McVeigh returns to work today after narrowly escaping discharge from the Navy over his alleged homosexuality, information obtained through the Internet.

He could be working in construction, a far cry from running a nuclear submarine in a 17-year naval career. But he doesn't mind, because he won a victory -- for now. The U.S. District Court yesterday allowed McVeigh to stay in the Navy until his case is fully investigated.

"There's uncertainty" about returning to work, said McVeigh, 36. "I don't know what I'll be doing. They don't know what I'll be doing. But I'm happy. The whole time I've been asking for someone outside the Navy to look at this case. If people read the regulations and follow the law, I'll win. I'm right in this case."

McVeigh, no relation to the Oklahoma City bomber, sued the Navy for violating its own "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy, claiming it illegally pursued information about his sexual orientation. McVeigh had e-mailed a Navy employee the names of his crew's children for Christmas presents.

The employee did a biographical search on him, identifying a gay man simply as "Tim of Honolulu." When the Navy called America Online and asked who "Tim" was, America Online gave it the answer -- apparently in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The Navy replaced McVeigh as chief of the nuclear attack submarine USS Chicago as soon as it began discharge procedures against him in September for sodomy and indecent acts.

"When they removed me from the ship, they had me working in construction, putting up drywall and ceilings. I learned quick," McVeigh said. "It's not my job, but it's interesting."

McVeigh learned of the court decision when he arrived at Honolulu Airport at 2:20 p.m. yesterday from his Washington, D.C., hearing. In ruling, U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin wrote: "The Navy violated the very essence of 'don't ask, don't pursue' by launching a search and destroy mission."

McVeigh, who was greeted with leis and hugs, said: "I'm gratified. I want to continue serving my country."

"As a mother of a gay son, it represents history in the making," said Shawn Bombard of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "It's a landmark decision. It opens up the door to people being aware that gays do not have the same civil rights as heterosexuals have. The decision generates some compassion and concern to the injustices being perpetrated against gays."

McVeigh's mother, Teri McVeigh, said she has always been proud of her son. "The whole world supports him. Gay and straight people. We've received copies of 3,000 e-mails alone from people writing their congressmen to protest his case. It's an unfortunate thing, and it never should have happened."

McVeigh asked his mother to move here from Florida after she suffered a heart attack in 1993 so he could take care of her. "He's a good kid," she said.

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