Illicit-photo scandal touches other military branches besides Marines: report

Business Insider reports other military branches also engage in the practice.

ByABC News
March 10, 2017, 10:25 AM

— -- In the wake of recent allegations that members of the U.S. Marine Corps shared illicit photos of female colleagues without their consent, a new report by Business Insider contains allegations that members of other military branches also engaged in the practice.

"Hundreds of nude photos ... from every military branch" were posted to a message board dedicated to military personnel on a pornographic image-sharing website called AnonIB, according to Thursday's Business Insider report.

Users of the website allegedly asked on numerous occasions for nude photos of specific female service members, some of whom were identified by name or the military base at which they were stationed. The photos shared on the message board are said to date back to 2016, according to Business Insider.

Prior to the new report, the Pentagon had already launched an investigation into allegations that Marines shared nude photos of current and former female service members through a private Facebook group called Marines United.

Kally Wayne, an ex-Marine who has accused her Marine ex-boyfriend of posting their private sex tape to the Marines United page, told ABC News she wants "justice."

"I felt like my privacy had been taken away from me," Wayne, who was dismissed from the Marines in 2016 for unrelated misconduct, told ABC News earlier this week. "I just want to get justice."

Wayne, who is also featured on the AnonIB site, added, "It's about time the Marines have been shown they have been doing wrong ... I'm glad everyone is ready to stand against it."

Capt. Ryan E. Alvis, a spokesperson for the Marines, said Thursday it was unclear if any Marines had also participated in using the AnonIB site.

"We are not able to confirm that Marines are participating in the site AnonIB," Alvis said in a statement to ABC News. "Allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated."

Marine Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green spoke to Congress on Wednesday about the allegations.

"I understand how everybody wants us to come out and be outraged," Green said in a response to a comment from Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida that the Marines' initial statement didn't contain an appropriate "level of outrage." "And we are outraged. We are."

The office of Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) alleged that while the alleged illicit behavior may go beyond the Marine Corps, the Marines nonetheless account for more cases of such misconduct that any other branch of U.S. Armed Forces. Speier is now pursuing legislation that would make it illegal to share illicit photos online without consent.

The Air Force, Army and Department of Defense each issued statements after the allegations concerning the AnonIB site were reported by Business Insider. The Navy deferred comment to the Department of Defense spokesman.

Air Force spokesman Zachary Anderson said his service is looking "further into the matter and taking it seriously, but cannot immediately verify any details about the site, the source of its content, or whether there has been any involvement by any airmen." Anderson added that "airmen or civilian employees who engage in activities of misconduct that demean or disrespect fellow service members will be appropriately disciplined."

Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson said the Army "is a values-based organization where everyone is expected to be treated with dignity and respect." She said "soldiers or civilian employees who participate in or condone misconduct, whether offline or online, may be subject to criminal, disciplinary, and/or administrative action."

Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, a Defense Department spokesperson, said the alleged behavior "is inconsistent with our values." He added, "over the past few years, the Defense Department has issued policy guidance to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and hazing, and we are currently developing a comprehensive workplace harassment prevention and response policy that will reinforce the department's commitment to eradicate these type of problematic behaviors."