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Probe: Former Coast Guard superintendent made inappropriate comments

NEW HAVEN, Conn. --An investigation found the former superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London occasionally made inappropriate comments to staff and others and acted intemperately twice, officials said Monday.

"Rear Adm. (James) Van Sice's actions did not violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice or constitute harassment or abuse, but they were inconsistent with the high standards of conduct expected of Coast Guard flag officers," said Rear Adm. Mary Landry, Coast Guard public affairs director.

Officials would not provide details of the incidents.

Landry also would not disclose what action was taken against Van Sice, saying administrative personnel actions are protected by privacy laws. But she said administrative corrective actions may include counseling or a letter of censure.

Van Sice declined comment.

He was reassigned in January and became director of personnel management at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington. He has submitted a request to retire later this year, officials said.

The investigation came as a task force looked into the climate and culture among cadets.

The task force was formed after former cadet Webster M. Smith last year became the first student court-martialed in the academy's 130-year history. Smith served about five months in prison for extorting a female classmate for sexual favors.

Information acquired during the investigation of Van Sice did in one instance relate to the Smith case, officials said. Officials declined to comment further, noting the Smith case was on appeal.

Van Sice became superintendent in May 2005. A standard tour for a superintendent is four years, but by law the academy's superintendent serves at the pleasure of the Coast Guard's commandant.

The task force is expected to release its findings next month.