of petty officer
proper, Navy says

Timothy McVeigh has appealed
the decision to the Navy secretary

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The Navy maintains that it properly investigated claims that a veteran Pearl Harbor submariner is gay and plans to discharge him on Friday.

The Navy is set to discharge Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy R. McVeigh (no relation to the man convicted in the Oklahoma City federal bombing) for "homosexual conduct admittance" because he typed the word "gay" on his America Online member profile under "marital status."

"You can put in male or female, that you are green or blue or purple," McVeigh said. "That doesn't make it true."

McVeigh, 36, has appealed the Navy's decision to Navy Secretary John Dalton asking him to delay the discharge pending an investigation on whether the military violated its "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Three members of Hawaii's congressional delegation have asked the Navy to review McVeigh's case. He also may seek a federal court injunction.

McVeigh, who has never revealed his sexual orientation, said the only evidence presented at a Pearl Harbor administrative separation board hearing Nov. 7 was the AOL user profile. He disputes the Navy's contention that his use of the word "gay" means he is homosexual.

However, a Pentagon official yesterday said information posted by McVeigh in the AOL subscriber profile represented a "statement" under military regulations about homosexuality. Although the policy bars the military from making inquiries about sexual preference, it does allow the military to discharge those who declare their homosexuality.

The Navy maintains that even under the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy McVeigh's use of the word "gay" in the AOL member profile "provides a rebuttal presumption that the servicemember has a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct," which may warrant initiation of discharge proceedings.

Until September, McVeigh, a 17-year veteran, was the highest ranking enlisted man aboard the Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Chicago.

Enlisting in the Navy right out of high school, he had hoped to retire with a pension in seven years. However, if the Navy gives him an honorable discharge this week, it will mean he will leave the Navy without a pension.

McVeigh said the Navy would have never been able to link him with the AOL member profile since it only said the user's name was "Tim."

But during the investigation, a Navy paralegal called AOL and said he wanted to find the person who sent him a fax.

The investigator was trying to verify the identification of a "screen name" used in an e-mail message to the USS Chicago's ombudsman, a civilian who represents Navy wives.

The investigator was told by AOL that the screen name belonged to McVeigh and that he lived in Hawaii.

McVeigh has said he sent the e-mail to the ombudsman asking for the ages and names of children on his submarine to organize a Christmas toy giveaway. His screen name appeared as the return address.

Using it, the ombudsman, a Navy wife, searched AOL's public directory and the profile screen.

According to investigatory reports obtained by the Associated Press, the page listed under marital status "gay." The profile page, which has since been removed, listed under hobbies, "driving, boywatching, collecting pictures of other young studs."

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