Ex-Navy chief denied clemency in fraternization case
The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.
A former chief petty officer who was acquitted of raping his boss but convicted of fraternizing with her has been denied clemency, according to his lawyer.
Last month, John Gonzales asked Rear Adm. Tim Alexander, commander of the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region, for clemency on the fraternization conviction, saying his federal criminal record has prevented him from finding a civilian job.
The military bans "unduly familiar relationships" between personnel of different ranks but typically handles infractions administratively. Because Gonzales was found guilty in a court-martial, he has a federal conviction on his record for a crime that doesn't exist in the civilian world.
Gonzales' lawyer, Grover Baxley, noted in a letter to Alexander that the ensign who acknowledged fraternizing with Gonzales and later accused him of rape was not held accountable for her actions. She was given a non-punitive letter of caution and has since been promoted, Baxley said.
The two had gone out with other sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship Bataan, and a group of them spent the night at Gonzales' apartment in Virginia Beach. The ensign and Gonzales slept in his bed.
A military jury in Norfolk last fall found Gonzales not guilty of raping the ensign but concluded he did fraternize with her.
Baxley said Alexander approved Gonzales' conviction and his sentence - reduction in rank to petty officer 2nd class. He was not permitted to re-enlist and left the Navy in January after 16 years of service.
Gonzales has since moved to Atlanta.