Charleston sailor fights Navy charge after alleged sleepover with male

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Navy Petty Officer Stephen Jones describes Feb. 5 as an average night inside his room at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek.

"My friend just came over to watch some shows. It was a long week at school cause we put in a lot of study hours on top of going to school, and he came over to watch some shows on my computer and we passed out," Jones said.

Jones' roommate walked in to find Jones and the other male sailor asleep in the same bed.

According to Jones, 21, he and the other man were wearing clothing. Just days later, the Navy charged Jones with unprofessional conduct.

"I was kind of shocked," Jones said. "Actually I was really shocked. We didn't break any rules. I didn't understand what we had done wrong. "

Jones said sailors of the same sex often go to each other's rooms in the barracks to watch television.

He and his lawyer contend the Naval Command wants to oust Jones because they suspect he is gay.

"I think if you read between the lines I'm being targeted," Jones said.

"Two sailors, regardless of gender, sleeping in the same bed together is considered unacceptable," said Thomas Dougan, a spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command.

Dougan added that sexual orientation played no role in this case.

"I'm proud that he's standing up," said Jeffrey Jones, Stephen Jones' father. "You know he's got integrity to stand behind his and strength to stand behind his statement that he didn't do anything."

The sailor found asleep with Jones remains in the Navy after accepting his punishment and having his pay docked. Jones would not comment on whether he is gay.

He is not allowed to answer that question. The "Don't ask, don't tell" policy is still being enforced, despite President Barack Obama's decision to repeal the policy last year.

Before the repeal can go into effect, the president, secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff still need to make sure the military is ready to implement the change.

The policy keeps the military from asking a service member about his or her sexuality, while keeping those who are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual from military service.

Currently, Jones is waiting to hear if the Navy will discharge him. 

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