Navy Veteran Joseph Rocha Slams Misleading AP Story About Abuse, Hazing at Hands of Military Supervisor

AP writer Kimberly Dozier writes about the forced retirement of dog handler Michael Toussaint, who supervised and systematically hazed Petty Officer Third Class Joseph D. Rocha, who was discharged under 'DADT', and other service members.

Writes Dozier: "The Navy has admitted that it was wrong when it accused dog handler Michael Toussaint of vicious hazing that singled out a gay sailor under his command at kennels in Bahrain."

Read all our background on Rocha's story HERE.

Rocha writes: Joseph-rocha

"AP's conclusion is wrong. After an official Navy investigation found 93 instances of abuse and misconduct under Toussaint's command, many of which entailed violations of military law, a second investigation found flaws in the first investigation. There were indeed flaws in the first investigation. But that is not the same as concluding that Toussaint is innocent or that the Navy believes that it was wrong in accusing him.

To the contrary, the Navy has concluded that the evidence, including testimony from multiple members of my unit, shows that Toussaint is guilty of creating a highly intimidating climate of fear that involved systematic abuse. This is why, of course, it is forcing him to retire…

Rocha points out five factual errors in the AP story and adds, "Toussaint's new letter of censure from the Navy reads: 'As the leading chief petty officer, you set a poor example by engaging in conduct that clearly violates the Navy's prohibitions against hazing and fraternization… As a result of your poor example, your subordinates emulated this behavior by taking part in their own hazing activities…'"

Finally, Rocha says, "The AP story called my integrity into question, but I was not given a chance to respond to its numerous, incorrect claims. AP released a brief version of its story titled "Navy admits wrong call on accusing dog handler" without even contacting me…The bottom line is this. My commander created a climate of fear in my unit which included a pattern of abuse, much of it directed at me. I did not complain about any of this, but an investigation was launched nonetheless when another unit member notified authorities. Multiple members of my unit testified about the abuse during the investigation. Although there were flaws in that investigation, there was more than enough evidence for the Navy to censure my commander for hazing, to force him to retire and to state, officially, that he does not meet the standards expected of a leader. The U.S. Navy did the right thing in this case. AP did not."

Senior Chief Must Retire Despite Hazing Probe [ap]
AP's Misleading Report on Navy Reversal: I Did Not Ask for Anti-Gay Hazing [rocha huff post]


  1. Jerry says

    The AP has a long history of being right wing and blatantly anti-gay in its reporting.

    Kudos to Mr. Rocha for setting the record straight.

    The AP should print his letter in its entirety.

  2. Rob says

    Yep, the AP has been Always Partisan for the country’s right wingers for quite some time. It’s not at all surprising they chose to eliminate some really pertinent facts about the Rocha/US Navy story. Too bad UPI (or some other news organization) is no longer around to give the AP reporting some competitive balance.

  3. bobbyjoe says

    Read some of the AP’s reports on the Wisconsin situation– some of them are like “Tea Party quote, Tea Party quote, Tea Party quote, Right-Winger quote, Conservative Politician quote, One quick quote from a pro-union teacher, Tea-Party quote, Tea Party quote.” Despite their brief mention that the pro-union forces vastly out-number the tea partiers at the protests, you’d think by the AP’s choices in who they interview and spend the majority of their time on that the situation was reversed.

    I’d say the AP is only one notch above Fox News in dramatically slanting the way we read news to the right-wing, but that actually isn’t true, as the AP wears a veneer of respectability that Fox doesn’t have, actually making them MORE dangerous.

  4. says

    Dozier should ALWAYS be questioned when she writes on military issues. Her dad was a Marine, she worked for Voice of America & she was injured/rescued while embedded with the American military.

    All of these combined create a rather sketchy picture of somebody that is unlikely to be an honest journalist when it comes to the American military.

  5. Jared says

    It does seem like Dozier did a poor job of reporting — will the AP do the right thing and investigate her fitness to continue in her job?

  6. ratbastard says

    AP is so f’ing lame to begin with. Their articles are notoriously full of inaccuracies, as are most media reports in general.

  7. Danny says

    Wow. Rocha didn’t even bring the complaint to begin with–but that didn’t stop AP from singling him out and trying to suggest that he did something below-board. Watta swine-sty AP is.

    And what a KNOCKOUT Rocha is. Wow.

  8. says

    Watch these free video clips to see just how out of hand these hazing rituals are at

    Real footage that exposes how brutal these hazing rituals are.