Veterans, others appalled female Marines exploited on nude-photo sharing site
Posted March 6
Jacksonville, N.C. — Veterans and Jacksonville residents on Monday called a website on which the nude photos of some female Marines were posted without their knowledge reprehensible, degrading and dangerous.
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 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 images are accompanied in some cases by obscene comments, along with the women’s full names, ranks and duty stations.
The photos, and more than 2,500 comments, were uncovered by War Horse, a nonprofit news organization run by Marine veteran Thomas Brennan.
Brennan contacted the Marines with his findings in late January, and the accounts behind the sharing on Facebook and Google, which had 30,000 followers, were deleted the following day.
"It’s essential that the public be made aware of this misconduct, and it is encouraging to see the military is taking action to investigate this matter," Brennan said Monday in a statement. "My hope is that the victims of this misconduct receive the full measure of justice and that other victims feel safe in stepping forward and having their voices heard."
The scandal has left Camp Lejeune and the surrounding Jacksonville community aghast.
"We consider our people family. We defend on each other like families defend each other, and when somebody in your family does something like, that it's severely disappointing," retired Marine Paul Maleski said. "Stuff like that is common sense – you don't do that stuff to your brothers and sisters."
"Those people, they're getting attacked by this," Jacksonville resident Dakota Hall said, referring to the female Marines. "It's ruining not only their reputation, but also the Marine Corps' reputation, and it's not something I like to see."
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis called the website disgraceful.
"People need to be held accountable, and I have confidence that we will probably be bringing this up when I get back up to Washington this week," Tillis said during a visit to Research Triangle Park. "We’ve got an investigation underway. We should get the facts and act on those facts."
The investigation could result in criminal charges against those behind the site, as well as sanctions imposed by the Marine Corps.