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Navy drops former astronaut Nowak

By the CNN Wire Staff
The Navy released a statement saying Lisa Nowak's conduct "demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member."
The Navy released a statement saying Lisa Nowak's conduct "demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lisa Nowak's "conduct fell well short of that expected of senior officers," the Navy says
  • She had already been cast off by NASA after she attacked a romantic rival
  • Nowak was accused of driving wearing diapers in order to cut down on stops in the pursuit
RELATED TOPICS
  • Lisa Nowak

(CNN) -- A former astronaut accused of assaulting a romantic rival has been forced to retire from the Navy with an "other than honorable" discharge.

Capt. Lisa Nowak's retirement is effective September 1.

Her "conduct fell well short of that expected of senior officers in our Navy and demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member," Juan Garcia, the assistant secretary of the Navy, said in a statement.

Prosecutors accused Nowak of driving nearly 900 miles from Houston to Orlando -- wearing NASA diapers to cut down on the number of stops she needed to make -- and donning a disguise before following former Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman from the airport's baggage claim to the parking lot in February 2007.

Her attorney denied that she wore the diapers.

Nowak said she had gone to the airport to talk to Shipman, who was dating Nowak's former love interest, Navy Cmdr. Bill Oefelein.

Shipman called that claim "at best, ridiculous," saying that Nowak -- whom she did not know -- had ample opportunity to talk to her, as she "stealthily followed me for hours."

She recounted her terror as she realized Nowak was following her in the dark parking lot. She said she sprinted to reach her car. Once she was inside, Shipman said, Nowak tried to open the door and beat on its window, then spun a tale of being a helpless traveler who was afraid of being in the parking lot.

Shipman said she cracked her window, and Nowak sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.

In 2009, Nowak avoided prison after pleading guilty to lesser charges as part of a plea agreement and was sentenced to a year of probation.

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