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Questions remain for Navy after acquittal of sailor in USS Bonhomme Richard fire

Smoke rises from the USS Bonhomme Richard after an explosion and fire on board the amphibious assault ship at Naval Base San Diego. The Navy is investigating whether the fire was due to arson.
Denis Poroy
/
Associated Press
Smoke rises from the USS Bonhomme Richard after an explosion and fire on board the amphibious assault ship at Naval Base San Diego. July 2020.

On Friday a sailor charged with intentionally setting the 2020 fire that destroyed the Navy ship the USS Bonhomme Richard was acquitted in a military court. With the acquittal of Seaman Recruit Ryan Sawyer Mays, there is renewed focus on how a series of safety failures by the U.S. Navy may have contributed to the destruction of the $1.2 billion ship.

"The large command investigation found that there were 34 people who either directly led to the loss of ship or contributed to it, and that included five admirals," ProPublica investigative reporter Megan Rose said. "But the criminal investigation seemed to operate completely in isolation. They paid no attention to all of these failures that the other investigation was finding. And they, very quickly after they decided it was arson, became pretty preoccupied with Mays."

Rose joined Midday Edition Monday to talk about the safety lapses her reporting uncovered and how the Navy's multiple investigations into the fire settled on criminal charges against Mays.

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