Active-duty U.S. Marines caught up in a nude photo sharing scandal could face up to seven years in prison, the Marine Corps Times reports.
A secret Facebook group titled “Marines United,” which included 30,000 active-duty and former U.S. Marines, posted thousands of nude photos of active-duty female Marines, The War Horse news outlet found. The group also compiled personal information on women in the Corps, including their social media accounts, names, duty assignments and ranks.
Any active-duty military personnel who participated in sharing the photos will be charged with “indecent viewing, visual recording or broadcasting,” Capt. Ryan Alvis told MCT. The charges may even extend to service members who were passively part of the group and did not share nude photos of other Marines.
“Officers won’t be difficult to charge, … as they are held to a higher standard and knew, or should have known, those photos were unauthorized,” former Judge Advocate Rachel VanLandingham elaborated to the MCT. She continued that enlisted members will be more difficult to charge for just being a part of the group, unless the military can prove they knew the photos were distributed without authorization.
Some members of the group made lurid comments suggesting some of the women pictured deserved sexual assault. “I don’t feel that it’s right, but I don’t feel that people should be utterly surprised that it is happening. There are other groups, and many are civilians, that are the same way,” member of the Facebook group Jason Elsdon told The New York Times.
Elsdon elaborated that the photos were just one facet of the group that also engaged in military humor, and often times offered support to service members contemplating suicide.
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