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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 18:37 GMT 19:37 UK
Chaplain told 'porn part of life'
HMS Albion
Mark Sharpe left HMS Albion after two weeks
A naval chaplain who complained about the use of porn on the warships he was training on was told "life at sea goes with porn", a Devon tribunal has heard.

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

The Exeter hearing was told he left HMS Albion and HMS Manchester because of the pornography.

The Navy has admitted sexual harassment but denies discrimination.

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.

I was forced to leave due to intolerable discrimination
Rev Mark Sharpe

Now the rector of a shore parish, who is a father-of-four, told the hearing in Exeter he was known as "the bish", and was taunted with chants of "bible basher" as well as "God botherer" and "devil's dodger" while on board.

He said he was told to remove his chaplain's insignia and his clerical suit at sea.

Mr Sharpe, of Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, retired from the police after a 12-year career in Yorkshire following an accident for which he received compensation, then took a degree in theology at Leeds University.

He was ordained in 2002, and was commissioned into the Royal Navy in May 2004.

Mr Sharpe left assault ship HMS Albion after two weeks when he said the "constant porn became intolerable".

Mr Sharpe said he was told by a Naval officer: "life at sea goes with porn. You need to learn to live with it."

'Extremely explicit'

When asked to put his concerns in writing, he said he felt he would not be allowed a second chance if he repeated his true concerns.

He then joined destroyer HMS Manchester on 5 September 2004, leaving three weeks later.

Mr Sharpe said there were "offensive and illegal" porn DVDs shown on board, and he said people were "watching porn while eating breakfast".

"I was forced to leave due to intolerable discrimination and extremely explicit pornographic images which I found offensive, degrading and humiliating," he said.

The hearing continues.




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