The Facebook group, Marines United, allegedly solicited nude photos of female service members, some of whom had their name, rank and duty station listed, the newspaper reported. (Representative image. Source: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph: (Others)
Senior lawmakers have called on the Marine Corps to investigate the allegations
An unspecified number of US Marines are being investigated for allegedly distributing nude photographs of female Marines on a private Facebook group, the Marine Corps Times reported on Sunday.
The group titled Marines United has nearly 30,000 members, mostly comprising active-duty US Marines, Marine Corps veterans and British Royal Marines, the report said.
We are aware of the reports of misconduct on social media. Marines will not tolerate online or offline harassment. https://t.co/Cl2zoEkZsM— U.S. Marines (@USMC) March 5, 2017
A Marine Corps spokesman told the newspaper that military officials are uncertain how many personnel may be involved.
The nude photo scandal was first reported by Thomas Brennan on the website he founded -- The War House. Brennan is an Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
Several members of the Facebook group lashed out at Brennan since the publication, making threats against him and his family.
There's a "bounty on pictures of my daughter," Brennan told Marine Corps Times. "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?"
According to Brennan, the pictures were either leaked by former romantic partners or obtained by stalking the women.
Senior Marine Corps officials have privately circulated a 10-page document detailing elements of the scandal and informing officials of the Corps’ planned media response to the allegations. Copies of that document have been obtained by The War Horse and the Marine Corps Times.
The document advised a response along the lines of: "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."