Tom Vanden Brook
September 7, 2017
WASHINGTON — A Navy commander accused of sexual misconduct while dressed as Santa Claus at a boozy party inside the Pentagon was allowed to stay on as spokesman for the Navy’s top admiral despite written warnings that the commander was a sexual predator, USA TODAY has learned.
Cdr. Chris Servello, 41, was accused by fellow officers and a civilian of making unwanted sexual passes and slapping a woman on the buttocks while dressed as Santa at the 2016 office Christmas party for Navy public affairs officials, documents obtained by USA TODAY show.
Servello was not reassigned as spokesman for Adm. John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, until mid-August, just weeks after USA TODAY sought documents regarding the incidents and the investigation. Capt. Peter Hudson, who completed his initial inquiry on Dec. 21, made plain that Servello should be shipped out.
Servello, in a statement to USA TODAY, said that naval investigators did not recommend that criminal charges be issued against him. He added that his career will likely be killed by the incidents.
"I have cooperated fully with all investigations conducted by the Navy,” Servello said. “Ultimately, the allegations were unproven and charges were not filed. I should have never put myself into a situation where my judgment or my military bearing could be called into question. I deeply regret this and have been held to account for my decision making. Indeed, the overall effect of the administrative counseling makes it highly unlikely that my career will recover."
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