An investigation into the alleged sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by two high ranking U.S. Navy SEALs has led to them being relieved of their duties while deployed. The SEALs, a Commander and Master Chief, were an integral part of the leadership for Naval Special Warfare Group Two and came under investigation during a deployment to East Africa. In May, both men were ordered back to the United States during the ongoing investigation and may still receive administrative charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Naval Special Warfare Group Two spokesman, Lt. Jacqui Maxwell, stated that,

The commanding officer and command master chief of an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare command were relieved of their duties on July 9. Cmdr. Jarrod Donaldson and Master Chief Jon Franklin were relieved from their position by Capt. Jamie Sands, commander, Naval Special Warfare Group Two. Donaldson and Franklin have been administratively reassigned to Naval Special Warfare Group Two.”

Franklin and Donaldson had been “pulled from deployment” at the beginning of May the moment the allegations were brought up, indicating some level of evidence being attached to the accusations. Both SEALs had kept their positions within the command structure during the investigation, while back in the United States. According to defense officials, one of the men was under investigation for inappropriate contact with a female armed forces member. They added that both men were under investigation for sexual harassment though.

Along with their command, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) was in charge of the investigation into the two SEALs alleged behavior according to NSW Group Two spokesman, Lt. Jacqui Maxwell. As the investigation has finished, the two men were relieved of their duties and “The Navy will follow due process.” According to a defense official, substantiated allegations are generally preceded by non-judiciary punishments which are assigned by the unit’s commanding officer (CO) or a disciplinary review board.

Featured image: Advanced cold-weather training in Kodiak, Alaska, exposes SEAL candidates to the physical stress of the environment and the tactics, techniques, and procedures necessary to operate efficiently where inclement weather is the norm. | U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric S. Logsdon

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