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Fired Navy chaplain seen having sex outside Algiers Point bar; pub owner recounts turning in tape

Capt. Loften Thornton (Screen Shot/U.S. Marine Corps)

New Orleans may have a libertine reputation, but what happened last month just outside the Crown & Anchor bar in Algiers Point was too much for owner Neil Timms.

Right in plain view of his surveillance camera, he said, a Navy chaplain, Capt. Loften Thornton, and his female companion were having sex.

“It was the fact that it was a chaplain and it was in public” that upset him, Timms said.

So he handed over video of the tryst to authorities at the nearby Marine Forces Reserve base in Algiers. The chaplain was fired a few days later, officials said.

According to Timms, he’d met Thornton a couple of times before at the British-themed Crown & Anchor and understood he was a chaplain at the Marine Forces Reserve base about a mile away in Federal City.

Timms said he and others noticed Thornton and a woman slip outside of the bar on Pelican Avenue together on March 15. Somebody in the bar walked around the corner, saw Thornton and the woman having sex, and asked them to stop, which they did, Timms said.

Timms said he reviewed his security video, realized the act had been recorded and notified the Federal City base. He said he believed the encounter was consensual but was still alarmed that it involved a military chaplain.

In a statement Wednesday, the Corps said that Lt. Gen. Rex McMillian, the Marine Forces Reserve commander, fired Thornton on March 20 “due to a loss of trust and confidence.” The statement did not specify what triggered the dismissal, citing an ongoing investigation.

A report Wednesday in USA Today, however, cited two anonymous Department of Defense sources who said authorities “were examining” footage showing Thornton having sex with a woman outside the Crown & Anchor, which is popular with members of the military in New Orleans, especially on the west bank.

Attempts to contact Thornton on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Thornton became a Navy chaplain in 1992, according to USA Today. The Navy provides chaplains for the Marine Corps. Among other things, they lead religious ceremonies and provide counseling to members of the military.

The case involving Thornton was the second time in recent weeks that the Marine Forces Reserve base in Federal City was the subject of an unflattering news story.

In mid-March, a report in Marine Corps Times said an intelligence unit there was being investigated on various allegations of misconduct, including administrative and pay issues and low morale.

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© 2018 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.