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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Chaplain 'afraid' over ship porn
HMS Albion
Mark Sharpe left HMS Albion after two weeks
A naval chaplain has told a tribunal in Devon he did not tell anyone about pornography on two war ships because he was afraid of the consequences.

The Rev Mark Sharpe, 37, is claiming sexual harassment and discrimination against the MoD on the grounds of religious affiliation.

The Exeter hearing has heard he left HMS Albion and HMS Manchester because of the pornography.

The Navy has admitted sexual harassment but denies discrimination.

The pornography was horrendous, it was vile
Rev Mark Sharpe

The Navy claims Mr Sharpe only raised complaints about pornography when he had decided to leave the service, for the reason that he was missing his wife and home.

MoD counsel Wendy Outhwaite asked him on Wednesday why he did not tell anyone about the pornography while he was aboard the ships.

"At that stage I was frightened as to what could happen to me," Mr Sharpe said.

Ms Outhwaite said: "You knew if you raised a complaint properly action would be taken, but you decided not to."

Mr Sharpe replied: "The reality is real life falls short of that expectation. Many people felt intimidated and afraid."

Asked whether he was not blaming everything on pornography he told the tribunal: "The pornography was horrendous, it was vile. The violence was terrifying."

Denying a suggestion from counsel that he was exaggerating the situation, he said: "I was lying there feeling physically sick at the sound of what was going on."

He told the tribunal he had also witnessed a knife fight and people throwing glasses at each other, adding: "I was terrified."

"I was upset by the violence, pornography and offensive sexual behaviour," he said, adding that he had seen part of a "naked mess session".

Position 'untenable'

Mr Sharpe, from Tenbury, Worcestershire, made complaints after leaving HMS Manchester, and investigations started.

He told the tribunal his position in the Navy "had become untenable because of the comments which were being made about me".

One, he said, was that he was "homophobic" because of his complaints about the "naked mess" at sea.

Mr Sharpe, a former police officer, left assault ship HMS Albion and the destroyer HMS Manchester after two weeks and 10 days respectively, the tribunal was told.

The hearing continues.

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