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Was Navy Sailor Killed For Being Gay?

Navy Seaman August Provost III.

BEAUMONT, Texas (CBS/AP) Relatives of a slain sailor are calling the 29-year-old's death a hate crime.

Rose Roy of Beaumont said her nephew, Navy Seaman August Provost III, had complained a year before about being harassed for being gay.

Roy said she advised Provost to report and document the incidents, but she said the military did little to help. Now she's angry because she believes the Navy is not telling the family the entire truth.

"He went to the Navy to serve and protect," she said in an interview with CBS Affiliate KFDM-TV Beaumont. "He didn't get protected at all. To have someone hate, that kind of hate and treat him like he was garbage, and basically that's the way we feel. The military didn't step up to the plate as he stepped up to protect his country and serve."

Roy told The Associated Press that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy discouraged her nephew from asking for help.

"That phrase is just stupid because it tells them they have no one to speak to," she said.

The 29-year-old Houston native was found dead Tuesday at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego. Roy said the family was told that Provost was shot three times, had his hands and feet bound, his mouth gagged, and body burned.

(MySpace Photo)
MySpace photo of Navy Seaman August Provost III.

The family plans to hold funeral services July 10 in Houston.

Democratic Rep. Bob Filner of San Diego said Thursday he wants a Defense Department investigation into the death, after leaders of the city's gay community asked him to intervene.

Investigators have called the sailor's death a random act unrelated to his sexuality and have taken a "person of interest" into custody. No charges have been filed.

Roy said Provost joined the Navy in March 2008 to pay off college debt.


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