in the navy

Navy Abuse Survivor Joseph Rocha Has a New Pal: Rep. Joe Sestak. And He Wants Answers


Pennsylvania’s U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak wants to know WTF happened in the abuse scandal surrounding Navy sailor Joseph Christopher Rocha, who we first told you about in June. Sestek, a former admiral, told Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus to tell him what he knows about Rocha’s sexual (forced to simulate oral sex) and physical (locked in a feces-laced dog kennel) abuse during his 2005 deployment in Bahrain, which got so bad Rocha turned to the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy as a way to get out of service.

This won’t be the first time the Navy looked at what happened to Rocha: They supposedly “investigated” Rocha’s allegations before. And summarily dismissed them. In fact, the sailors allegedly responsible for the abuse kept their jobs; Rocha’s supervisor Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint, who reportedly helped lead the homophobic torment, even got a promotion. And Rep. Sestak wants answers about Toussaint, too.


This is fantastic news. With non-stop media coverage from YouthRadio and involvement from the Palm Center, Rocha’s abuse now has the the attention of not just any U.S. representative, but the House’s highest ranking former military officer; Sestak (pictured), a member of Congress’ Armed Services Committee, is also going after Sen. Arlen Specter’s U.S. Senate seat.

It’s also only the first step, but a meaningful one. They’re coming for you, Toussaint.