Female Lejeune Marines victims of nude-photo sharing site
Posted March 5
Updated March 6
Camp Lejeune, N.C. — A Defense Department investigation is underway into reports that hundreds of Marines allegedly circulated pictures of their fellow female service members and veterans on social media.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is looking into “Marines United,” a secret site on Facebook. It is said to have featured pictures of female service members, current and retired, and other women in various stages of undress.
The condemnation from the Marines has been swift and unambiguous.
“There is no place for this type of demeaning or degrading behavior in our corps. This includes our actions online,” said Sgt. Major Ronald Green.
The images are accompanied by obscene comments in some cases, along with the women’s full names, ranks and duty stations.
Lawmakers are demanding an investigation.
“I was infuriated. It’s disgraceful. I mean, to treat fellow Marines, to treat fellow service members, people who are literally willing to do anything to protect this country, even die for this country with such disrespect and such disregard. Their mothers would be fuming right now,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
The pictures of more than two dozen women surfaced after the first females were assigned to a Marine infantry unit at Camp Lejeune in early January.
The photos, and more than 2,500 comments, were uncovered by the War Horse, a nonprofit news organization run by Thomas Brennan, who is a Marine veteran.
According to Brennan’s article, published by the Center for Investigative Reporting, now deleted Google Drive folders linked from the Facebook page and contained photos of “women in various stages of undress” and “many images appear to have originated from the consensual, but private, exchange of racy images, some clearly taken by the women themselves.”
Other photos, Brennan said, were taken without consent.
Brennan contacted the Marines with his findings in late January and one day later, the accounts behind the sharing on Facebook and Google were deleted.
While a formal inquiry is underway, others say the problem will require a two-pronged approach.
“You need both top down and enlighten small unit leadership to create the kind of environment in which this kind of reprehensible behavior cannot occur,” said Col. Jack Jacobs.
General Robert Neller, the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. released the following statement in response to the investigation:
‘I am not going to comment specifically about an ongoing investigation, but I will say this: for anyone to target one of our Marines, online or otherwise, in an inappropriate manner, is distasteful and shows an absence of respect. The success of every Marine, every team, every unit and command throughout our Corps. is based on mutual trust and respect. I expect every Marine to demonstrate the highest integrity and loyalty to fellow Marines at all times, on duty, off-duty, and online. I expect Marines to give their all to be the best human beings, teammates and Marines possible.”