Editor’s Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.
The one-star director of Marine and Family Programs has been placed on administrative leave after an anonymous complaint was made regarding "inappropriate comments" during a recent town hall meeting.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller placed Brig. Gen. Kurt Stein on leave pending the outcome of an inquiry into the alleged comments, according to a news release from Marine Corps Headquarters. The specific nature of the comments was not revealed.
USA Today reported that Stein told an audience of hundreds of Marines and civilians that recent allegations of sexual harassment made by women against a Marine officer were "fake news." The newspaper said he used "crass language" to describe the charges.
Stein's office, as the outlet reported, oversees sexual assault prevention efforts for the Marine Corps.
According to the release, the alleged comments were made during an April 6, 2018, town hall discussion. Following the town hall, someone made an anonymous complaint to a Naval Criminal Investigative Service tip line.
"The Marine Corps expects every Marine, uniformed and civilian -- and particularly those in leadership positions -- to take allegations of misconduct seriously and to promote positive command climates," Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Brian Block said in a news release. "As a Corps, we are committed to fully investigating and holding ourselves accountable when those allegations are shown to be true."
Block added that Marine leaders are responsible to ensure that subordinate Marines and civilian employees are confident they will be taken seriously if they come forward with allegations of misconduct.
Stein, a decorated career naval aviator, came to his current position in November 2016.
According to his official biography, he entered the Marine Corps in 1991 and has flown more than 100 combat missions and logged more than 4,500 flight hours on various platforms. He previously served as the assistant deputy commandant for aviation, and as vice chief of staff for Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North.
The two oil tankers crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran are being assessed off the coast off the United Arab Emirates before their cargos are unloaded, the ships' operators said on Sunday.
U.S. Cyber Command is reportedly going on offense against Russia's power grid by placing "potentially crippling malware" in its systems, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The cyber incursions, authorized to Cyber Command under new authorities that do not require presidential approval, have gotten more "aggressive" and seem to be a warning that the U.S. can respond to Moscow's past cyberattacks, such as the 2016 incursion into the Democratic National Committee and its attack on Ukraine's power grid.