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Navy Women Accuse Marines of Sexual Harassment

April 25, 1992

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ Women accused two Marine drill instructors of sexual harassment at a school for aviation officer candidates.

Most of the women who testified during hearings Tuesday and Thursday have graduated from the Aviation Officer Candidate School at Pensacola Naval Air Station and now are commissioned officers.

They accused Gunnery Sgts. Michael E. Wallace and Clifton W. Ford of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice by fraternizing with their students and sexually harassing subordinates.

One woman charged that Wallace pulled out her waistband and put his hand and ice on her buttocks at a party.

Another testified Wallace followed her into a hotel room during a Navy show in Chicago and asked for a hug.

Ford was accused of dancing and drinking with officer candidates at class social events he supervised and going to a woman’s room at 5:30 a.m. to ask that she get him a bottle of ointment from the hospital.

Navy Capt. Steve Peterson presided over the hearings and will make a recommendation in each case that could range from a general court-martial to dismissal of the charges.

The school’s chief drill instructor, Master Sgt. Charles Ryan, disputed allegations the school was rife with rumors of student-instructor relationships. He insisted there is a clear division between instructors and students.

The school began the probe last year after Wallace’s wife complained to school officials that she thought he was having an affair.

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