Marine general removed after calling reports of alleged sexual harassment 'fake news'

General also joked about a chaplain removed from duty for sexual misconduct.

It was during an April 6 town hall that he described press reports about a sexual harassment investigation at his command as "fake news," the defense official familiar with the investigation told ABC News.

According to a statement from one witness at the town hall, Stein's remarks on sexual harassment allegations referred to two civilian employees whose complaints against other employees in the command, dating back more than a year, are under investigation, the defense official said.

The official said Stein also joked about a Navy chaplain who had recently been fired from his post in New Orleans for sexual misconduct, saying that "aviators should live vicariously through the chaplain’s 'actions' and that "chaplains are getting more 'action' than aviators."

In a statement, the Marine Corps said it received an anonymous call to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service hotline on April 9 about Stein’s comments at the town hall.

Gen. Robert B. Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, directed a command investigation that was completed April 13. After reviewing the investigation, the Marine Corps announced Monday that Neller had lost confidence in Stein’s ability to lead this particular organization.

Stein remains on administrative leave pending reassignment within the Marine Corps in the coming weeks. His replacement has not yet been identified.

This incident comes as two other Marine Corps general officers have been removed from their positions for command climate issues this year.

Stein assumed the duties of Director Marine and Family Programs in November 2016. A Naval Aviator by trade, he has flown more than 100 combat missions and accumulated more than 4,500 flight hours in numerous platforms.