Cmdr. Allen Maestas (Navy)
SAN DIEGO — The Navy has released a San Diego commander’s flirtatious cellphone texts and emails that were sent to female sailors under his command.
U-T San Diego reported Wednesday that the Navy released the messages that led to the removal of Cmdr. Allen Maestas in response to the newspaper’s Freedom of Information Act request.
Maestas was removed May 16 from his post as the second-in-command of his unit because the Navy said the messages were inappropriate for a senior-subordinate relationship.
Over a series of texts to one sailor under his command, Maestas said “weekends sorta suck cause I don’t get to see you until Monday” and “I’m jealous u r in (pa)jamas. I wish I could join u.”
He also sent texts asking the sailor to send photos of herself in shorts or “in any pose.” He also texted, “Sure wish U could give a good back massage.”
According to the Navy’s findings, Maestas sent similar messages to other women under his command.
To one of the women, Maestas offered to wash her truck for her if her boyfriend couldn’t do it. In her statement, the sailor said she traded in the vehicle to avoid future comments from him.
The investigation concluded that Maestas inquired about sailors’ personal lives out of a genuine interest in helping them, but that he also used it as a pretext to cross the line.
The report also says that he followed offensive remarks with a smiley face in the messages so that later he could claim he was only kidding.
The executive officer denied any wrongdoing, according to an interview transcript, but later wrote a statement stating that family problems from deployments made his professional standards “slip.”
“I started allowing myself to have conversations with my subordinates that I wouldn’t normally have,” he wrote. “I was looking for someone to talk to.”
Cmdr. Tamsen Reese, a spokeswoman for San Diego’s Naval Surface Forces command, told the U-T: “The messages were inappropriate and unprofessional and did not respect the senior-subordinate relationship. Sailors deserve an environment where they feel comfortable in the work place.”
The case came as the military has been under the spotlight for how it handles sexual assault cases.