Darryl Coote

Adm. Bill Moran, vice chief of naval operations, said he will retire instead of assuming the head of the Navy, due to a professional relationship he kept with a retired Navy official accused of sexual misconduct. Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
July 8 (UPI) — Less than a month before he was to head the U.S. Navy, Adm. Bill Moran said he has declined the offer and will instead retire due to a professional relationship he kept with a former Navy official accused of sexual misconduct.

In a Sunday statement, Moran said as painful as it was to submit his request to retire, he did so due to “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.”

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said he accepted Moran’s resignation as this relationship he maintained “caused me to call his judgment into question.”

Moran said his decision to maintain the relationship “was in no way an endorsement or tacit approval of this kind of behavior. I understand how toxic it can be to any team when inappropriate behavior goes unrecognized and unchecked.”

According to multiple reports, the relationship in question was with Navy public affairs official Chris Servello, who retired following allegations of sexual harassment committed during a Christmas party in 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Moran was nominated to head the Navy by President Donal Trump in April and he was confirmed the following month.

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