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Navy Drops Discharge of Sailor Found Asleep with Another Man

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- The Navy has dropped discharge proceedings against a young petty officer accused of "unprofessional conduct" after he was found asleep in bed with another male sailor earlier this year.

Stephen Jones, 21, a student at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C., had said his attempted ouster was motivated by homophobia, not a legitimate crime.

"This was an attempt to utilize supposed misconduct to get around 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' provisions," said Jones' civilian attorney Gary Meyers. "He's never said that he's gay, and no one asked him. It's irrelevant. He didn't do anything wrong."

The reprieve for Jones came Friday from the "upper echelons" of the Navy, Meyers said.

In an interview last month, Jones said he and friend Brian McGee inadvertently dozed off while watching the Vampire Diaries on a computer in his quarters Feb. 6.

"I asked several times about what was unprofessional about what I did, and every time they said it's just unprofessional. Period," said Jones.

Jones was wearing pajama pants and a white t-shirt, laying on top of the covers; McGee was in boxer shorts under the blanket on Jones' twin bed, according to both men's accounts.

When Jones' roommate, Tyler Berube, walked in shortly after midnight, the sleepy sailors woke up, got dressed and went back to their rooms.

Several days later, however, Jones and McGee were cited with dereliction of duty for "willfully failing to exhibit professional conduct in his room," according to the Navy report specifying the charges.

McGee accepted the charge and received docked pay. But when Jones refused to accept a penalty, instead hoping for a court martial to prove his innocence, he was ordered separated from the Navy for good.

While there was no evidence of homosexual conduct presented in the statements given by the three men to military investigators, Jones and his civilian attorney Gary Meyers believe homophobic suspicions were motivation for the charge.

Gay and lesbian advocates also warned the case illustrates a loophole for continued discrimination against homosexual service members complication despite the impending repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

A copy of the Navy's investigative report confirms that Berube discovered the two men asleep in bed, well before the 2 a.m. curfew Feb. 6, but does not detail how Jones or McGee may have exhibited unprofessional behavior.

"Guys are always playing video games, watching movies, in other people's quarters," Jones said. "Brian and I hung out on a regular basis. Curfew was 2 a.m. We woke up between 12 and 12:30, and were back in our rooms before 1. I have never been in trouble ever in all of my life."

A spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Training Command did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment but told the Washington Post, which first reported on the case, that "the determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional."

Attorney Meyers said, "If this is a problem, every kid who was ever in a fraternity or sorority or in a dorm room, wearing boxers and sitting on the bed, is going to have to look at their conduct again."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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