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Following revelation that a large group of active-duty Marines are under investigation for sharing nude photos of female troops without their consent, Congressman calls on Marine Corps to take action fast and decisive.
Representative Adam Smith, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a statement on Sunday calling the alleged behavior of former Marine and Marine Corps combatants “degrading, dangerous and utterly unacceptable.”
A 2014 study found that the United States Marine Corps has the highest rate of sexual assault against women in the military (8% of female Marines were sexually assaulted in the year the study was carried out). (U.S. Marine Corps photo: Cpl.Adam Korolev)
“I expect the Commander of the Marine Corps, General Neller, will use his resources to thoroughly investigate these acts and bring to justice all those who have broken the law and violated the rights of other servicemen.” , said the Washington Democrat.
“He must also ensure that the victims are taken care of. Members of the military who volunteer to serve their country should not have to deal with this kind of wrongdoing, ”added Smith.
The investigation was made public on Saturday night by reporter Thomas James Brennan, who reported for Reveal News that members of the private Marines United Facebook group had shared dozens of nude photos of female members of the service, tagging them by name, rank and place of employment. The group members also linked to a Google Drive folder with more photos and compromising information, Brennan reported.
A Marine Corps official confirmed that an investigation was underway, but could not confirm hundreds of Marines were caught, as Brennan reported. The official referred questions about details to the Navy’s Criminal Investigation Department, which did not immediately respond on Sunday.
“The Marine Corps is deeply concerned about the allegations of derogatory comments online and the sharing of salacious photographs on a closed website,” said Marine Corps spokesman Capt Ryan Alvis in a statement provided to Military.com. “This behavior destroys morale, erodes confidence and degrades the individual.”
Allegations are founded, active-duty Marines involved in the photo-sharing network could be charged with violating UCMJ article 134, general misconduct, for enlisted soldiers, and article 133, improper conduct , for officers, said Alvis. If the Marines shared a photo taken without the subject’s consent and under circumstances in which there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, they could be charged with Section 120, broadcasting or distributing indecent visual recordings, she said.
“A Marine who directly participates in, encourages or condones such actions could also be subject to criminal prosecution or adverse administrative actions,” Alvis said.
To underscore the importance of the allegations to Marine Corps officials, Neller and Marine Corps Sergeant Major Ronald Green issued statements condemning the alleged behavior.
“I’m not going to comment specifically on an ongoing investigation, but I will say this: that anyone who targets any of our Marines, online or otherwise, inappropriately, is rude and shows disrespect,” Neller said in a statement provided to Military.com. “The success of every Navy, every team, every unit and command in our corps is based on mutual trust and respect.”
Green went further, issuing a 319-word open letter statement calling online photo sharing “degrading” and “degrading” and adding that there was no room for it. in the body.
“We have to be brutally honest with ourselves and with each other. This behavior hurts other Marines, family members and civilians. It is a direct attack on our philosophy and our heritage, ”he said. “As Marines, as human beings, you should be angry for the actions of a few. These negative behaviors are absolutely contrary to what we represent. It breaks the bond that unites us; without trust, our family falters.
Messages Brennan shared with Military.com show that some members of the group responded to his report by threatening him and his family and trying to post information about where he lived.
“’Amber Alert: Thomas J. Brennan,” wrote one user, referring to the Child Abduction Emergency System. “$ 500.00 for this guy girl’s nudes,” wrote another.
Brennan is a veteran of the Navy and Infantry Fighting.
This is not the first time that the bad behavior of Marines online has captured the attention of Congress.
In 2013, the harassment of civilian women and female troops on several so-called “humor” Facebook pages with members of the Marine Corps prompted Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, to call on the Secretary of Defense of the United States. era Chuck Hagel and then commanding officer, General. Jim Amos to intervene.
But in this case, the leadership of the Marine Corps chose to treat the behavior in private and on a case-by-case basis. No criminal prosecution against Marines connected to Facebook pages has ever been made public.
A 2014 report of similar behavior resulted in investigations of 12 Marines, according to internal public affairs guidelines published by the Marine Corps Times.
As the first female Marines join infantry units following a Pentagon tenure in 2015 opening up all ground combat jobs to women, it’s possible that department heads now feel an additional tenure to crack down. the online exploitation of female members of the service by their colleagues in a public and decisive manner.
“Stand up, speak up and be a voice for change for the better. Hold those who make a misstep accountable, ”Green said. “We need to realize that silence is consent – don’t be silent. It is your duty to protect each other, not only for the Marine Corps, but for humanity. “