Image: Owen Honors in video sketch
The Virginian-Pilot via AP
U.S. Navy Capt. Owen Honors, portraying various Navy personnel, is shown three times in one frame of a profanity-laced comedy sketch that was digitally altered by members in the U.S. Navy and broadcast on the USS Enterprise via closed-circuit television.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 3/3/2011 5:45:30 PM ET 2011-03-03T22:45:30

The former commander of a nuclear aircraft carrier, as well as two of his superiors, should be censured over raunchy videos shown to crew members, Navy investigators said in releasing their findings Thursday.

The inquiry faulted Capt. Owen Honors, who was relieved of command of the USS Enterprise in January after Navy leaders learned about the videos from media reports, as well as Rear Adm. Lawrence Rice and Rear Adm. Ron Horton.

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"Navy leaders are vested with extraordinary military authority and must be held to a higher standard and maintain their credibility in the eyes of their subordinates under the most difficult, even possibly life-threatening circumstances," Commander of Fleet Forces Adm. John Harvey said in a statement.

A Navy investigation found at least 25 videos contained that inappropriate scenes.

The recommendations, which were forwarded to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, have the potential to hinder the officers' careers.

In addition, Honors should have to show cause for why he should remain in the Navy, investigators advised.

Censure was also recommended for Capt. John Dixon, who served with Honors on the Enterprise.

The videos, produced on the ship and broadcast to the crew during deployments between October 2005 and December 2007, included anti-gay slurs, sailors of both genders in shower scenes and salty language. They were broadcast over the ship's television system during weekly movie nights.

Honors, who was serving as the Enterprise's executive officer at the time, starred in the videos. Sailors aboard the ship when the videos aired have said they were intended to be humorous and served as a way of maintaining morale on long deployments.

Harvey said the videos showed a profound lack of judgment when he moved Honors into an administrative job at Naval Station Norfolk.

The Navy said its investigation focused on all aspects of the production of the videos, including the actions of other senior officers who knew about the videos and what actions they took in response.

Honors' civilian attorney, Charles Gittins, has said that if Honors had been told to stop producing and broadcasting the videos, he would have done so.

Rear Adms. Rice and Horton commanded the Enterprise during Honors' tenure as executive officer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Timeline: Military scandals

Video: Man overboard: Navy officer fired over lewd videos

  1. Transcript of: Man overboard: Navy officer fired over lewd videos

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We return now to the story that started off our broadcast last night. We reported that the captain of an aircraft carrier in the US Navy had been temporarily relieved of his command because of those onboard ship videos that have surfaced that the Navy is not happy about. Well, tonight temporary has become permanent. Our Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski with us again tonight with an update on this story. Jim , good evening.

    JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: Good evening, Brian . By all accounts Captain Owen Honors was still a rising star in the Navy , but only three days after the public release of those controversial videos, it all came crashing down today. After a 28 year Navy career, Captain Owen Honors was informed only minutes before the Navy announced he was relieved of his command of the USS Enterprise . In a punishing public statement, Admiral John Harvey said he had lost confidence in Honors ' ability to lead.

    Admiral JOHN HARVEY (United States Fleet Forces Commander): His profound lack of good judgment and professionalism while previously serving as executive officer in Enterprise calls into question his character and undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command.

    Captain OWEN HONORS: There's a really good chance you're going to be offended tonight.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: It was this series of salacious videos, containing simulated sex acts and gay bashing shot aboard the Enterprise four to five years ago, that brought Captain Honors down.

    Adm. HARVEY: He is being held accountable for the poor judgment and inappropriate actions repeatedly demonstrated in those videos.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: Honors was replaced immediately by Captain Dee Mewbourne , who will now command the Enterprise on its upcoming mission to the war in Afghanistan in a couple of weeks. Despite today's firing, thousands of Honors ' supporters are lighting up Facebook , many of them many sailors who say videos like those produced by Honors offer a much needed break from the wars. But Navy officers, past and present, say the issue here is all about judgment than leadership.

    Rear Admiral STEPHEN PIETROPAOLI, Retired, (United States Navy): It's not about being the crew's pal. It is about motivating the crew. This Ex. O. clearly has a great sense of humor. There's folks that are going to relate to that. But his principle job is not to be the ship's comedian, it's to be the ship's executive officer.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: The Navy 's investigation does not stop here. Investigators now want to know why Honors ' senior commanders, who knew about these videos four years ago, didn't take formal disciplinary action against him at the time. Instead, Honors was eventually promoted to the ship's commander. Now, Captain Honors has been temporarily assigned to a desk job pending the outcome of the Navy 's investigation, but Navy officials predict that today's action marks the beginning of the end to an otherwise stellar career. Brian :

    WILLIAMS: All right, Jim , thanks. Jim Miklaszewski with our update from the Pentagon tonight.

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