The Navy is forcing the retirement of the chief petty officer charged with allegations of degrading gay and lesbian sailors under his command in Bahrain, The Associated Press reported.

Chief Petty Officer Michael Toussaint will lose his current position and forced to retire, the Navy announced Wednesday. His retirement pay could also be significantly affected.

The Navy's reopening of its investigation into the allegations of abuse was prompted by a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Navy by Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak last month. Sestak requested an inquiry into the abuse of Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Christopher Rocha, who served under Toussaint.

Rocha was discharged from the Navy in 2007 after he violated the military's ban on openly gay service, known as “don't ask, don't tell,” and came out to his commanding officer after suffering two years of abuse from shipmates while on duty on the island of Bahrain between 2004 and 2006.

The former sailor alleges service members engaged in a two-year pattern of abuse against him after they began to suspect he is gay. “I was hog-tied to a chair, rolled around the base, left in a dog kennel that had feces spread in it,” Rocha told Youth Radio.

Rocha was a member of the Bahrain Military Working Dogs Division, also known as “The Kennel,” a special division devoted to training bomb-sniffing dogs.

The atmosphere on the island base was “degrading” to gay men and lesbians, he says.

“The fact that I was starting to figure out that I was a homosexual, it was the most degrading thing I've ever experienced in my life,” Rocha said.

The hazing, taunting, and bullying began soon after Rocha declined to take a female prostitute in 2004. Because he feared losing his job, Rocha says he did not report the abuse, including violence he suffered at the hands of Toussaint.

Documents acquired by Youth Radio via a Freedom of Information Act request show that Rocha was not alone in his suffering. A summary of an independent investigation concluded in 2007 lists 93 abusive incidents, including forcing two female sailors to simulate lesbian sex on video. One of the women has since committed suicide.

The military's ban on open service by gay men and lesbians is being blamed for the aggressive atmosphere.

“The Navy's actions in reviewing Joseph Rocha's case show how important accountability is in the chain of command,” said Dr. Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a think tank that advocates for repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,” in a statement.

“The suffering of Rocha and others was exacerbated by the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy since it hampers the ability of abuse victims to hold leaders and perpetrators accountable. The results undermine discipline and order in the entire unit, not just gays and lesbians,” Belkin added.