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The admiral who designed the Navy's ethics training denied Saturday he protected a staffer accused of making homosexual advances, saying he was fired because of the outcry the Tailhook sex scandal created.

"We are literally wounding the very leadership that is at the very heart of everything our military stands for," Vice Adm. Jack Fetterman said. "I think the country should be very concerned about that."

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Admiral Fetterman was removed as chief of naval education and training and resigned his 37-year military career at a reduced rank, Navy officials said Friday.

He allegedly protected an aide on his staff who was accused of making homosexual advances toward other enlisted men, the Navy said.

Fetterman was investigated after someone called the Pentagon's complaint hot line anonymously.

Fetterman said the Navy has been gripped by a "climate of suspicion and innuendo" because of the Tailhook scandal and that retirement would allow him to speak out.

The Navy is investigating complaints that some 70 aviators fondled and stripped clothing from 26 women, many of them fellow officers, during a convention last year in Las Vegas of the Tailhook Association, a group of current and retired Navy aviators. Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett resigned as a result of the incident.

Fetterman, as well as Mr. Garrett and Adm. Frank Kelso, the chief of naval operations, were present at the convention but said they saw no sexual harassment.

The "core values" training Fetterman ordered was little more than an idea until the Tailhook scandal. The training is designed to counteract sexual harassment, racism, and other violence.

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