Back in February, news broke of a Facebook page called “Marines United”, on which hundreds of nude photos of female service members were being shared. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, a number of women, many of them active-duty, “had been identified by their rank, full name and military duty station.” These photos were apparently shared without the women’s consent. In at least one instance, a photo was taken of without the Marine’s knowledge — she was followed by a fellow Marine and he secretly took a photo of her as she was in a state of undress.
At the time the scandal became public, the Facebook group had some 30,000 male servicemen as members.
In the face of scrutiny, the creator(s) of the page took it down but, these images continue to pop up on other places, including Instagram and Snapchat. During this time, “Marines United 2.0” and “Marines United 3.0” Facebook groups were launched. Though the memberships were much smaller, the sharing of photos persisted. So, it appeared that this problem was going to persist. At least, until last week, that is.
Over the last few days, news of punishments have surfaced. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has announced that it has identified 15 servicemen (14 Marines and one sailor) that it believes have committed felony offenses as it relates to this fiasco. According to the NCIS, its investigation has identified 150 web sites involved in the sharing of “some 75,000 images of female and male servicemembers.”
Additionally, they have identified 12 civilians who could also face felony charges.
This may just be the tip of the iceberg. Investigators announced that another 29 service members are facing possible disciplinary action. While military officials won’t offer specifics on what these actions could be, these punishments could be severe enough to end military careers.