By James Beaty
The News-Capital has learned a federal investigation is under way at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant that resulted in civilian employee of the U.S. Navy being placed on administrative leave.
Following an initial inquiry by a U.S. Army investigator, the matter has been turned over to the FBI.
The incident which led to the employee being suspended allegedly occurred in a building used by the Navy on the McAAP grounds.
A Navy spokesman declined to identify the individual placed on suspension, citing it as a personnel matter and noting no criminal charges have been filed at this point.
The News-Capital learned of the alleged incident from several individuals who spoke with the newspaper on the condition they could remain anonymous.
The alleged incident occurred in August at the U.S. Navy tenant operation on the McAAP grounds, sources said.
Asked about the matter, McAAP spokesman Kevin Jackson told the News-Capital he could not answer any questions regarding a Naval tenant activity at the base.
“It’s not in our direct chain of command,” Jackson said. “It’s a Navy issue.”
McAAP Commander Col. Joseph G. Dalessio also declined through Jackson requests for an interview regarding the matter. Jackson referred questions to the U.S. Navy.
The News-Capital contacted the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland.
Indian Head spokesperson Becky D’Ambrosio confirmed an investigation is under way at the Naval facility on the McAAP grounds. It’s called the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technology Division, McAlester detachment.
“I can say the initial investigation was conducted by the Army criminal investigator assigned to McAlester,’ D’Ambrosio said.
“They turned it over to the FBI.”
D’Ambrosio said she could not confirm or deny the nature of the matter under investigation.
“It’s inappropriate for me to comment on an investigation that is ongoing,” she said.
However, the Navy is keeping in touch with the federal investigators.
“We have been in contact with the FBI,” D’Ambrosio said.
Twenty-one U.S. Navy civilian employees and three contractors are employed at the McAlester detachment of the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, according to D’Ambrosio.
Regarding the suspended employee, D’Ambrosio said the Navy suspended the employee with pay in August.
“That employee has since retired from our organization,” she said. The employee had worked for the Navy since 2006, according to a Naval spokesman.
Asked about the McAAP investigation, FBI Special Agent Rick Rains in Oklahoma City said he could not comment at this time.
“We are still ongoing in that investigation and we don’t comment on ongoing investigations,” Rains said.
When completed, the results of an FBI investigation are typically turned over to a federal prosecutor’s office for a determination on whether charges should be filed or whether a matter should go before a federal grand jury for a possible indictment.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.