Opponents of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy say Rocha was trapped: he couldn’t report the abuse because that could reveal his sexual orientation. They say the policy also played a role in the abuse: Others in the unit repeatedly asked Rocha if he was gay — a violation of the “don’t ask” provision — because he would not avail himself of prostitutes who visited their quarters. And, in the end, Rocha’s PTSD prompted him to tell the Navy he is gay, resulting in his expulsion.
Sestak also is requesting information regarding Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint, who was responsible for the unit and was later promoted to senior chief.
“It would astound me if he was promoted if these allegations are true,” Sestak said in an interview. “What kind of a command climate is that?”…
Shaun Hogan of Maine, a former Bahrain colleague of Rocha’s who is now a reservist, said Rocha was treated worse than others who were hazed because Rocha was believed to be gay. Hogan said some in the unit “blatantly asked” if Rocha was gay. It was Hogan who obtained the Navy’s report and shared it with Youth Radio, an Oakland, Calif., news organization that broke the story.