Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Notable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994 » Paula Coughlin v. the Las Vegas Hilton: 1994 - The President Is Briefed On The Situation, Report Cites 90 Victims, Coughlin Sues Hilton

Paula Coughlin v. the Las Vegas Hilton: 1994 - The President Is Briefed On The Situation

defense indecent navy report

It was not until June 26, 1992, that Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney briefed President George Bush on the reports. The President invited Lieutenant Coughlin to the White House that day to hear her description of an experience she said left her "the most frightened I've ever been." Within hours, Secretary Garrett resigned. Accepting the resignation that evening, the President did not include the "thank you" usually given a high official who resigns. Three days later, the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, protesting the "arrogance and obstruction" of the Navy, cut from its defense spending bill the funds for some 10,000 active-duty administrative personnel, and the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate blocked the approval of nearly 4,500 Navy and Marine promotions and transfers.

On July 29 the Los Angeles Times reported that aviators at the Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego, California, had turned over to the Defense Department Inspector General's Office five rolls of film showing a teenage girl, apparently drunk, being stripped of her clothing by a crowd of rowdy Navy and Marine fliers in the gauntlet corridor at the 1991 Las Vegas Tailhook convention.

The next day, the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee held a hearing on discrimination against women in the military. Four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified. Admiral Kelso, Chief of Naval Operations, admitted that the Navy had not paid attention to earlier evidence that women in the service were being mistreated.

On April 23, 1993, Pentagon Inspector General Derek J. Vander Schaaf released the Defense Department's three-hundred-page report on the Tailhook convention. Among the subheads of chapters in the report were "Streaking," "Mooning," "Butt Biting," "Pornography," "Public and Paid Sex," and "Ballwalking." Citing "the culmination of a long-term failure of leadership in naval aviation," it said that 117 officers were "implicated in one or more incidents of indecent assault, indecent exposure, conduct unbecoming an officer or failure to act in a proper leadership capacity." Of the 117 officers, the report stated that 23 were involved in indecent assaults and 23 in indecent exposure, while 51 lied to investigators. All faced disciplinary action. In addition, the report concluded that "the number of individuals involved in all types of misconduct or other inappropriate behavior" was "more widespread than these figures would suggest." Altogether, it said, several hundred officers concealed information so that "collective, stonewalling' significantly increased the difficulty of the investigation."

Paula Coughlin v. the Las Vegas Hilton: 1994 - Report Cites 90 Victims [next]

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