Nude female Marines pictures reportedly shared on social media, NCIS starts investigation
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is currently investigating hundreds of U.S. veteran and active-duty Marine Corps members for sharing some naked photographs of female Marines, veterans and other women on a secret Facebook page, of which some were taken without their knowledge. However, the photographs have been taken down, NCIS officials said.
Over twenty different women, including officers and enlisted soldiers, have had their intimate photos shared on a private group called “Marines United”. The smutty Facebook group, which is made up of nearly 30,000 active duty Marines and veterans, built online profiles on Marine women without their knowledge or consent, listing dozens of women’s names, ranks, social media handles and where they are placed. Those involved stored their photos in Google Drive folders linked to from the Facebook page and encouraged other members to take and share any naked photos of women in their units.
The existence of the shared drive was first reported through the website Reveal, in conjunction with the War Horse military news website. The group is believed to have been started in January after the first Marine infantry unit was assigned female members on January 5.
Photos of Marine Lance Cpl. Marisa Woytek were taken from her Instagram account and posted to Marines United multiple times in the past six months without her consent.
“Even if I could, I’m never reenlisting,” Woytek said. “Being sexually harassed online ruined the Marine Corps for me, and the experience.”
Woytek said she was alerted to the hijacked photos by others on social media and were shown the comments that accompanied them. She said that many of the comments included allusions to sexual assault and rape.
Similar incidents have been experienced by many of her female colleagues, she said, and added that they have been reluctant to speak out for fear of retaliation from the group’s thousands of members. With the War Horse’s report on Saturday, Woytek said that she and others “have a voice now.”
Robert B. Neller, Marine Corps commandant Gen., refused to comment directly about the ongoing investigation. “For anyone to target one of our Marines, online or otherwise, in an inappropriate manner, is distasteful and shows an absence of respect,” Neller said in a statement.
Marine Corps spokesman Captain Ryan E. Alvis said: “The Marine Corps is deeply concerned about allegations regarding the derogatory online comments and sharing of salacious photographs in a closed website.”
“This behaviour destroys morale, erodes trust, and degrades the individual.”
Representative Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington State, and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a complete investigation and for proper care of the victims.
“This behavior by Marines and former Marines is degrading, dangerous, and completely unacceptable,” the congressman said in a statement.
“The military men and women who proudly volunteer to serve their country should not have to deal with this kind of reprehensible conduct.”