What follows is a link collection containing all the posts and supporting documentation we have for the story: Sailors' Abuse Kept Silent in Navy Canine Unit.
This collection will update as new material is posted online.
THE YOUTH RADIO INVESTIGATION
As a result of the top-level Navy review of misconduct in a canine unit in Bahrain, the Secretary of the Navy has censured the unit’s former chief petty officer, Michael Toussaint, forcing him to retire from the Navy.
A Youth Radio investigation finds that the U.S. Navy’s report on hazing in its Bahrain Canine Unit omitted the suicide of the unit’s leading Petty Officer, who feared she had become the scapegoat for widespread abuse.
On January 16, 2007, Petty Officer Jennifer Valdivia was found dead in a small room at her home in Bahrain. The U.S. Navy, which maintains a major base on the island in the Persian Gulf, classified her death as a non-combat related incident. A Navy autopsy later confirmed that 27-year-old Valdivia committed suicide.
Since Youth Radio broke the story, the current commander of naval installations in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia, Rear Admiral David Mercer, has ordered a review of the Navy’s investigation. And Youth Radio has just learned that yet another review of the investigation has been ordered, this time by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Navy's highest ranking officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The deadline for that report is October 6th.
Navy Sailors Say They Were Hazed, Abused Transcript and audio of the story as it aired on NPR's All Things Considered.
Youth Radio has interviewed six sailors from the canine unit. They all tell similar stories of abuse.
One sailor who would only talk on tape if we changed her voice, remembers seeing a different sexually charged video. In it a female sailor was ordered to role-play as the lover of another female in the unit, who was handcuffed to a bed, and appeared naked under the sheets.
Between 2004 and 2006, sailors in the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain Military Working Dogs Division, or "The Kennel," were subjected to an atmosphere of sexual harassment, psychological humiliation, and physical assaults.
It was inside that Bahrain kennel in July 2005 that Petty Officer Joseph Christopher Rocha, then 19 years old, says he was being terrorized by other members of his own division. "I was hog-tied to a chair, rolled around the base, left in a dog kennel that had feces spread in it."
PHOTOS & SLIDESHOWS
A Father Remembers - Slideshow featuring Chris Young, the father of Jennifer Valdivia
PREVIOUS STORIES FEATURING Joseph Christopher Rocha:
Don't Ask, Do Tell: the Shocking Story of a Gay Sailor - Rocha's story in his own words. (KQED Perspective & Video)
The High Cost Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Initial Audio Interview)
Youth Reaction to Prop 8 Mixed - Reporter Rachel Krantz met Joseph C. Rocha while covering the demonstration held in reaction to the California State Supreme Court's upholding of Proposition 8.
THE AWARD WINNING "REFLECTIONS ON RETURN" SERIES
From 2003 to 2008, Youth Radio produced a series of reports and first person accounts of young men aand women upon their returning from service in Iraq. The series would go on to win the Edward R. Murrow award. Collected below are a few of those stories, which themselves have links to the rest of the collection.
A Soldier's Reflection -Twenty-year-old Gaurav Taneja fought with Second Battalion, 23rd Marines Fox Company when they invaded Iraq. He spent his childhood in India, and joined the U.S. military at 17 years old. Now, Taneja is a college student and a veteran, like thousands of other young U.S.-soldiers who are coming home after completing their first tours.
The Story of a Wounded Soldier -In September 2003, 21-year-old Corporal Chris Kotch was hit by an improvised explosive device while on routine patrol near Al'Fallujah in Iraq. His left vocal chord is now paralyzed, due to a procedure following his injury, and you’ll hear the effects of that damage in his voice.
Family Times and Iraq - Specialist Richard Denny is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He is stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq for 12 months, returning to the states in November 2004. He’s from a family of military men. Both his father and his brother have done tours of duty in Iraq. But Richard explains that since he returned to his base North Carolina, he’s realized his war experiences are hard to share, even when he’s with his family in Tennessee.