An investigation has been launched after it was discovered that some male Marines had been sharing naked pictures of their female colleagues and other non-consenting women in a secret page on Facebook.
According to the AP, the Facebook group was called "Marines United" and had members from both active and retired male Marines, Navy Corpsman, and British Royal Marines. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is now looking into the situation and the page has been shut down.
"For anyone to target one of our Marines, online or otherwise, in an inappropriate manner, is distasteful and shows an absence of respect," said Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller, who refused to give a more specific comment on the situation.
"These negative behaviors are absolutely contrary to what we represent," added Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, the top enlisted man in the Marine Corps.
Many details about the group or its practices remain unknown, but a CIR report indicates that images of upwards of two dozen active-duty women were shared, with even more files kept on a Google drive. That drive had a following of over 30,000. Later reports revealed that some of the women were stalked and that some of the comments on the page advocated sexual assault.
A statement from Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ryan E. Alvis revealed that a veteran had reported the behavior to higher-ups: "We are thankful that Thomas Brennan, a Marine veteran, notified the Marine Corps and NCIS about what he witnessed on the 'Marines United' page. It allowed us to take immediate action to have the explicit photos taken down and to prepare to support potential victims ... The Marine Corps is deeply concerned about allegations regarding the derogatory online comments and sharing of salacious photographs in a closed website. This behavior destroys morale, erodes trust, and degrades the individual."
According to the Marine Times, since exposing the group Brennan has received threats against him and his family. There's a "bounty on pictures of my daughter," Brennan said. "It has been suggested that my wife should be raped as a result of this, and people are openly suggesting I should be killed. ... Can you imagine being one of the victims?"
It is unclear if the men implicated in the group will face criminal charges or if they will be charged as violators of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
[Photo: Getty Images]