By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 4, 2011; 12:17 PM
To hear Navy Petty Officer Stephen C. Jones tell it, what happened in his bedroom one night last month was purely innocuous: Another male sailor came by to watch "The Vampire Diaries," and they both dozed off in the same bed. "That is the honest, entire story," Jones said.
Navy officials, however, have a different view of his bedroom behavior at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, near Charleston, S.C. Even though there is no evidence the 21-year-old sailor committed any hanky-panky or that his friend was not permitted to visit, Jones has been charged with dereliction of duty. The Navy is seeking to discharge him, a move that he is contesting.
"The subterfuge is, they believe this kid is a homosexual, but they have no proof of it," said Gary Myers, Jones's civilian attorney. "So what they've done here is to trump this thing up as a crime. This is not a crime."
In December, President Obama signed legislation that will eventually allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the ranks for the first time. But the law will not take effect until 60 days after Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and other officials formally certify to Congress that the military is ready to fully integrate gays and lesbians.
In the meantime, the Pentagon has effectively frozen many pending investigations into whether individual service members are gay. A Defense Department spokeswoman said Pentagon officials have not approved the discharge of anyone for violating "don't ask, don't tell" since at least October.