Embattled Chaplain Modder Files Complaint Against Navy Commander
US Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, currently facing a discharge board for statements about homosexuality made during private counseling sessions, has filed a complaint with the Navy with the goal of being able to continue ministering to his sailors:
Chaplain Wes Modder spends his days basically alone in the base chapel. He is no longer allowed into his office. By order of his commanding officer, he is not allowed even to speak to the sailors in his unit. If anyone from his unit comes into the chapel, he may not speak with them…
His commanding officer, Captain Jon Fahs…requested various actions against Modder, including taking him off the promotions list, separating him for cause, and initiating a board of inquiry. None of that has happened yet and, in the meantime, Modder sits alone unable to help his fellow sailors…
Modder and his lawyers at the Liberty Institute have taken the highly unusual step of filing a complaint against his commanding officer.
The complaint is known as an Article 138, which essentially requires the commander to either grant redress for a wrong. If he does not, the complaint is automatically appealed to Commander Fahs’ superior. According to the report, that would be Admiral John Richardson.
Admiral Richardson is President Obama’s nominee to be the next Chief of Naval Operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Notably, Admiral Richardson’s nomination would have to get past the Senate Armed Services Committee. At least one committee member, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, has voiced support for Chaplain Modder, meaning this situation could very well play out on the congressional stage.
Update: Admiral Richardson was confirmed as the newest Chief of Naval Operations on August 5th.