ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A fired U.S. Naval Academy professor has appealed his dismissal and accused the college of trying to silence his public criticism of it.

The Capital reports Bruce Fleming filed his appeal Tuesday with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Jason Ehrenberg is the civilian English instructor's lawyer and says it would take several months before a decision is reached.

Accusations against the 64-year-old that led to his termination from a tenured position include touching students without consent and sending them a photo of himself in a swimsuit.

Academy officials have declined to comment. They had investigated the complaints of inappropriate behavior in Fleming's classrooms.

Fleming says any physical contact was always consensual and never sexual. He says the shirtless photo was shared while referring to body imagery in a poem.

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Information from: The Capital, http://www.capitalgazette.com/