By Chris Perez. March 5, pm Updated March 6, am. Hundreds of US Marines swapped naked pictures of female recruits and veterans — many of whom had no idea that they had been photographed — on a secret Facebook page, a report says.
The military is still struggling with how to handle sexual assaults in its ranks.
The US Defence Department is investigating reports that some Marines shared naked photographs of female Marines, veterans and other women on a secret Facebook page, some of which were taken without their knowledge. Along with identified female military members were photographs of unidentifiable women in various stages of undress, and included obscene comments about some of the women, officials said. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is now investigating. The photographs have been taken down, officials said. Marine Corps commandant General Robert B Neller on Sunday refused to comment directly about the ongoing investigation. It was not immediately known how many active-duty Marines and other service members were involved or are under investigation.
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The U. Nude photos were allegedly shared online via a Facebook group titled Marines United , which has nearly 30, members, mostly active-duty U. An online link to the the photos, as well as the names and units of the women pictured, was posted in January by a former Marine who was working for a defense contractor, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The contractor has since been relieved of his duties. Marine Lance Cpl. Marisa Woytek told The Post that photos were taken from her Instagram account and posted to Marines United multiple times in the past six months, without her consent.
Marine Corps officials have called on the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to investigate after it was revealed that images of nude female servicemembers had been shared on Dropbox. Christopher Harrison said Monday. Harrison and Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, confirmed the new allegations span beyond the Marine Corps and could include all of the military services. They would not say Monday whether active-duty or reserve servicemembers were suspected of distributing the content, which was made illegal in December as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. But the pace at which social media platforms expand and evolve and the anonymity with which some of them are able to operate online can make it difficult for authorities to detect such harassment or to identify the victims, she said. In the new allegations, Vice reported most of the images in the folder show women in military clothing. A few are of servicemembers fully clothed, in apparent attempt to shame or discredit them. Some of the photos had been previously shared in other online groups while others appear to be new, Vice reported.