US Navy Hospital Ship XO Removed For Sexual Assault

I get why the initial story is very confusing, but you have to keep in mind the short attention span of the average phone-twiddler these days.
Saving the clarification for the end isn’t going to work in this short-attention-span world. I might not even have got into the navy people that ride around on the ship, the medical staff had nothing to do with this.

Who cares what senior Navy officials say? Why do you care what they know or don’t know? If they’re senior Navy officials they should have some knowledge of a civilian ship hierarchy…you know like most of us do with a Navy ship

And this is the first we’re hearing about “multiple accounts of rape.” That’s not what the article says.


Something like “The Chief Mate (aka 1st Mate) of the Mercy was taking off the ship and is accused of rape. There are also commissioned naval officers aboard as medical staff that were not involved, the sailors that run the ship are merchant mariners”

Yes, the primary problem is assault on the ship. And assaults in the industry. I think the bone of contention here is that for any problem to be taken seriously it needs to be clear and accurate.

On the topic of clarity and making a point, if multiple naval officers are confused about the proper terminology and rank structure of the very organization that makes their deployments possible, then perpetuating that through continued use of the wrong terminology helps no one. Even after the article points out that it was actually the Chief Mate, a role similar to XO but in this case not the vessels XO, the article continues to refer to the alleged aggressor as the XO. If Chief Mate doesn’t generate enough interest or gravitas for the targeted readership, the headline could have said Chief Officer, or First Officer (which, incidentally, is this persons official position title at MSC).

So I get that the verbiage was intentional. But the author, of all people, should not be surprised that it royally ticks off the people here in the forum.

I think it was implied here:

According to a source close to the victim, after the XO was removed, several more crew members reported being harassed or assaulted by the US Merchant Marine XO.

To be, “harassed and assaulted” does not mean multiple accusations of rape.

So you’re going to malign the executive officer, Dr. Kimberly Toone, USN captain, just so you can make a point? In the age of Google where what we say is forever you will stand by your intentional misrepresenting of facts? Go ahead and google “mercy xo rape” and look at the first result:

Navy Hospital Ship Mercy XO Removed for Sexual Assault

And all for what? Because you were disgruntled that the USN was confused as to the position of the chief mate in the command structure?

If you thought you’d teach the Navy something by falsely stating their leader was a rapist, you fucked up. They’re not going to be interested in the opinion of some yellow journalist who won’t correct an obvious error.

The guilty person, the former CHIEF MATE will get what’s coming to him. However, the innocent person YOU are victimizing, Dr. Toone, will have your libel follow her on the internet forever. I hope you’re proud of yourself, John.

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Nope :point_down:

but apparently you have no issue being malignant towards me.

And that leads to the reason for SO many of our problems. You believe I’m wrong? Well, I don’t BUT Instead of building each other up and reaching out to helping our fellow Merchant Mariners work out errors privately and working together to solve problems and build camaraderie… we prefer to throw our fellow Merchant Mariners in the locks outside the courthouse and heckle them.

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John, either you are ignorant or you are lying.

“XO” is a very specific job title on a US Naval ship. You wrote, “US Navy Hospital Ship XO Removed For Sexual Assault.” You then defended your statement.

We have two possible conclusions: that you were ignorant in not knowing that “XO” was a specific, singular, position on a Naval ship; or you intentionally wrote and published a falsehood (libel).

You admit to knowing the difference between “XO” and “chief mate” so you aren’t ignorant. That makes you a liar.

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Nobody mentioned the name of the hospital FACILITY xo besides you so no libel.

The Chief Mate IS the closest equivalent of XO on most navy ships. The actual XO is not second in command of the ship, she is a doctor and an aviator.

The article was sent to MSC’s PAO and they (along with indo-pacom and 7th fleet and MARAD and other PAOs) were given an opportunity to comment. If they have an issue - which they did not - then they (or the hospital FACILITY XO herself) can contact me for a correction.

And yes I did just suspend your account for a month for being too combative and accusing me of libel.

I’m not surprised. I think people SHOULD be pissed that most navy officers have no idea what a Chief Mate is. They should be pissed that the military press has covered every loss of confidence story for infractions way less serious than this but won’t write up this one. You should be pissed that the Navy PAO’s don’t care enough to comment. You should be pissed that MSC Chief Mates have most of the responsibilities of a swo executive officer but gets none of the recognition or appreciation.

If you guys want to direct that anger at me… that’s fine, I’m willing to take it.

I just suggest that going through the proper channels (contacting the Navy PAOs about better understanding the role of Merchant Mariners) would have a better chance at success than calling me an ignorant libelous ahole.

It is disappointing that yours is the only article I see on this.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is a PAO?

Update: I found it…Public Affairs Officer…I figured it was PR related

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Disappointing indeed :sleepy:

But why should anyone report on the US Merchant Marine? Nobody likes getting attacked, not even journalist, and no group of people I know are more onerous and easily offended than US Merchant Mariners (for good reason… we have been screwed royally for decades… but it’s not helping now that it’s reached a level where we eat our own young)… so why should they write about is?

PAO = Public Affairs Officer. Commissioned officers who help journalists plus monitor and correct errors in the press.

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Accuracy IS important and the accuracy here was not up to standard.
Call the sous chef in a fine restaurant ‘cook’ and see what kitchen implement he or she chooses to stab you with.

If a naval officer is too dull to figure out the hierarchy of merchant deck officers, we’ve got problems. I mean, we just go by numbers in descending order.
It was a judgement call and many guys disagreed with it, as an issue of clarity, John. Either ignore it or use the magic edit button.
Either way I’m impressed at the lack of typos here when everyone got buttsore and opened up the jewelry box to bring out momma’s good clutching pearls.

I’m not going to call you any names or accuse you of any crimes as I am not a lawyer and thus not qualified to do so.

However I would be interested to know your explanation regarding how your headline doesn’t meet this definition of libel as given by the Oxford dictionary:

“a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation”

No need to rehash what you’ve already written about how a CM has a similar role to an XO on a navy ship …I get that. But it doesn’t change the fact that the headline of your article is demonstrably and provably false.

If asked, I would recommend replacing ‘XO’ with ‘First Officer’.

Looks like MLLA has filed a FOIA request with MSC using this article as one of its references.

This has the potential to become very high profile.

Meh. For most Navy officers that knowledge is unimportant. Sorry.

They tried to kill that altogether, actually. Only a public accountability shitstorm stopped brought those announcements back.

What are you asking for, exactly? That the Navy write a story every time a CIVMAR gets sent home early for reported misconduct? I can tell you what the Privacy Act has to say about that, and I can take a pretty good guess what their union would have to say about that too.

For every CO or XO that gets fired, which is of course not a firing but simply being removed from current position, any number of junior officers will be fired for any number of reasons; incompetence, failure to meet standards, to illegal activity. And you’ll never hear about them, because they don’t rise to the standard of public official that the Captain does.

So how would that work for MSC? Who is a senior public official? The Master? Maybe; here’s a guy receiving recognition for his work:

What about the Chief Engineer? First Assistant Engineer, or only the deck guys? Chief Steward? See where this can go? You’re way better off being treated like the hired help, at least in this case.

Ok, I’m not even going to go there, but what do you want? Uniforms, medals, parades? I’ve got an idea for you. How about command biographies on ship webpages? Every Navy CO/XO them. It wouldn’t cost the Navy/MSC anything. Put it to the senior deck/engineering MSC officers; I think you’ll find most of them happy to keep their names off the internet like that.

Ironic, coming from the guy who is radioactive in naval circles due to his combative nature, but I agree; you didn’t commit libel. But you should fix your article all the same.

The OED is a dictionary. It does not provide legal context.

  1. A title has no room for context either therefore it is not subject to libel laws. Titles have been exempt for decades, if not centuries.

  2. this story is about the military. The military is VERY sensitive to journalism errors for obvious reasons and the PAOs have their own Admiral and policies and procedures to monitor for libel. If they do not consider this libel then why should you?

  3. This is a professional forum. If you don’t have knowledge and experience then stop, just stop. Nobody likes it when a BMW owning wafi comes here and starts telling mariners the legality of a situation he hasn’t experienced. Likewise journalists don’t appreciate being yelled at by mariners.

Then call the PAO in charge and lodge a complaint. If they ask me for a correction, I will comply. Here is the number of the Medical Facility XO’s command PAO:

Yep, totally toxic. Nobody with any credibility would come anywhere close to me.

In other news. Here’s the latest popular Navy podcast that wants nothing to do with me:

Lots more where that came from but I don’t want anyone to feel overwhelmed by all the miss-information I’m publishing so DM when your finished picking apart this weeks podcast and I’ll send you one from last week you can pick apart. :roll_eyes:

Now can we get past semantic BS and return to the women who were actually RAPED AND ASSAULTED aboard the USNS Mercy? Or are we going to stick to the pain and suffering experienced by one person who was not the subject of any crime?

Thanks for the explanation on the title exemption to libel laws. You’re right, I was unaware it is legal make a false, defamatory statement about someone in the bold printed title then as long as you explain how your title is false (later in the small print) that makes it ok.

This sounds like you acknowledge your title is false and are just waiting to be asked by the Navy to fix it. Fair enough.

I don’t want anything. ZERO.

YOU guys are the ones who want ammo and fuel delivered to YOU in contested waters. YOU are the ones who want us to sail on the rusting junk YOU don’t maintain properly. YOU are the ones who say we aren’t worth protecting.

We didn’t have enough tankermen to keep your tanks full before Red Hill was closed (great job replacing steel pipes with PVC from Home Depot BTW) and CIVMARS are now leaving in droves.

So what do YOU want to give us so YOU can keep operating? That’s the question.

A parade might convince some Merchant Mariners to help YOU but, IDK, I’m not signing up sail for you regardless because I don’t need anything from you, and certainly not more pompous attitude suggesting my brothers don’t deserve one $1.50 ribbon to show their grandkids.