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WASHINGTON – The Navy’s choice to lead the ocean service and be a part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has declined the appointment after a request for his emails by USA TODAY prompted a name for an inspector normal’s investigation. 

Adm. Bill Moran had been chosen to be Chief of Naval Operations, and his nomination was to have been taken up by the Senate.

The Secretary of the Navy has accepted Moran’s request to retire.

USA TODAY has been searching for emails between Moran and a former Navy spokesman who had labored for Moran. Retired Navy Cdr. Chris Servello had additionally labored for Adm. John Richardson, the outgoing Chief of Naval Operations. 

Servello and Richardson had been rebuked by Navy officers after Servello had acted boorishly at an workplace Christmas occasion and Richardson was gradual to self-discipline him. 

A file picture of Admiral Bill Moran. He was confirmed by the Senate because the 39th Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO). Moran was promoted to the rank of admiral by Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, prior to the change of workplace. (Photo: U.S. Navy picture, U.S. Navy)

“I made this difficult decision based on an open investigation into the nature of some of my personal email correspondence over the past couple of years and for continuing to maintain a professional relationship with a former staff officer, now retired, who had while in uniform been investigated and held accountable over allegations of inappropriate behavior,” Moran mentioned in a written assertion.

His abrupt resignation follows the unrelated choice final month by Patrick Shanahan to withdraw from consideration as the next Defense Secretary after USA TODAY and others revealed details of his turbulent divorce and family life. 

The FOIA request has not yet been filled so the contents of the private emails exchanged by Moran and Servello are unclear. However, official Navy business must conducted on government accounts. 

The investigation stemmed from an office Christmas party in 2016 during which Servello, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, slapped a civilian woman’s buttocks. Later, at an after-party, Servello allegedly made sexual advances in a “predatory” way toward subordinate officers. 

The Pentagon has been rocked by several scandals involving senior officer misconduct in recent years. A 2017 USA TODAY investigation found more than 500 cases of serious lapses, almost half of them involving personal or ethical lapses. 


A study by the Pentagon reveals that cases of sexual assault in the military ranks has increased 38% from 2016 to 2018.

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