An internal investigation by the Miami Herald has cleared a military affairs reporter who was called out by a Navy Commander for sexual harassment in a complaint filed last month.
Carol Rosenberg will continue to cover the military for the Herald despite the accusations of Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon, who said the veteran reporter used salty language around the sailor and was abusive to him for years.
"We found some inconsistencies in [Gordon's] version of events," Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal said, in a story published on the Herald's Web site today. "We could not help but conclude that this is a relationship between two people that has gotten off track."
The complaint was first made on July 22, in a letter to Gyllenhaal from Gordon, which was leaked on the Web.
In the complaint, Gordon accused Rosenberg of making degrading remarks about his sexual orientation, abusing him verbally in front of other reporters and expressing an odd fixation with his rear.
"Have you ever had a red hot poker shoved up your ass? Have you ever had a broomstick shoved up your ass? Have your ever had anything shoved up your ass? Have you ever had anything in your ass?" Rosenberg reportedly asked Gordon, adding "How would you know how it feels if it never happened to you? Admit it, you liked it. No wonder why you like to stay in South Beach on your Miami visits."
Gordon said Rosenberg had been harassing him for four years, and he had complained in 2008 about her behavior.
“Though I appreciate your efforts of July 2008 to correct Carol Rosenberg’s patently offensive conduct, I am disappointed that the results were merely temporary,” the complaint stated.
The Herald apparently defended Rosenberg the first time around by telling Gordon that she was merely being “aggressive” in her reporting.
Gordon didn't buy that explanation, and compared the abuse he received to the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo.
“Aggressive reporting does not legitimize sexual harassment or a pattern of sustained abuse,” he stated in his complaint.
But the Herald said they weighed the evidence and decided to side with Rosenberg, noting that several other reporters and even some military officials supported Rosenberg.
In a letter to the Pentagon yesterday, Herald VP of Human Resources Elissa Vanaver said the paper "did not find corroboration" for Gordon's complaints, though she admitted that Rosenberg had used "unnecessary profanity."
Vanaver wrote that as Rosenberg "continues this assignment, she will place an emphasis on professionalism."
Gordon did not respond to interview requests by the Herald yesterday. Gordon's superior, Col. David Lapan, said in an e-mail to the paper: "From the beginning, we have considered this a personnel matter, and it's unfortunate that it has become a news story."