Navy one-star admiral fired over sexual harassment allegation

Relieved of command.

The Navy one-star admiral in charge of repair depots for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft has been fired amid an ongoing investigation into whether he committed sexual harassment, Task & Purpose has learned.

No information about the sexual harassment accusation was immediately available.

Officially, Rear Adm. Trent DeMoss was relieved of overseeing Fleet Readiness Centers because the head of Naval Air Systems Command lost confidence in his ability to command, the Navy announced in a terse statement. DeMoss is currently assigned to Naval Air Systems Command headquarters.

Sam LaGrone of USNI News first reported on Monday that DeMoss had been relieved following a preliminary review of a sexual harassment complaint with an investigation into other complaints pending.

“The Navy Inspector General is investigating this matter and we will not comment on the ongoing investigation, said Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Charlie Brown.

DeMoss was commissioned as an ensign in 1991 and became an admiral in July, according to his Navy biography. He has deployed to Kosovo and Macedonia and served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Harry S. Truman, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and he assumed command of Fleet Readiness Centers in August.

His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, and other campaign and unit awards.

Through a spokesman, DeMoss declined to comment for this story.

Like the rest of the military, the Navy has long-standing problems with sexual harassment and assault. During the 1991 Tailhook symposium for Navy and Marine Corps aviators, a total of 83 women and seven men were sexually assaulted. 

The scandal led to a public reckoning for the Navy about sexual harassment and assault, and it prompted the Navy to overhaul its investigative service.

But problems have persisted and more recently the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office found that former Navy Auditor General Ronnie Booth had sexually harassed 12 female employees over the course of more than 20 years.

One employee told investigators that Booth’s pattern of sexual harassment was an “open secret.” Three other witnesses described him as a “predator.”

In fiscal 2019, the military services and National Guard Bureau investigated 1,021 sexual harassment complaints, a 10% increase over the previous year, according to the Defense Department’s most recent report on sexual assault in the military.

“In 2018, an estimated 24.2 percent of active duty women and an estimated 6.3 percent of active duty men indicated experiencing sexual harassment,” the report says. “This was a statistically significant increase for active duty women (estimated 21.4 percent in 2016) and men (estimated 5.7 percent in 2016). Active duty women who experienced sexual harassment were at three times greater risk for sexual assault than those who did not.”

Featured image: Rear Adm. Trent DeMoss was relieved of command on April 5, 2021. He had assumed command of Fleet Readiness Centers on Aug. 14, 2020.

Jeff Schogol
Jeff Schogol

is the senior Pentagon reporter for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for 15 years. You can email him at schogol@taskandpurpose.com, direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter, or reach him on WhatsApp and Signal at 703-909-6488. Contact the author here.

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