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Marines United members begin posting nude pictures of sisters-in-arms on porn sites

Members of the Marines United Facebook group, accused of sharing nude photos of female Marines, have reportedly begun posting videos to pornography websites such as PornHub. Despite an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, members have also migrated to a new private Facebook group called Marines United 2.0.

The new Facebook group has just over 3,000 members, a sharp decline from the 30,000-strong Marines United page. According to veterans’ news site Task & Purpose, the majority of members are posting from their personal Facebook accounts and are not only reconstructing the original cache of nude photos from the original group on a new DropBox folder, but are also posting on porn sites.

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Comments posted under one video on PornHub imply the woman featured works in support personnel, while DropBox folders contain explicit photos and videos from the original Marines United group, Task & Purpose found.

Members of the new Marines United 2.0 group have defiantly continued to share nude pictures of their sisters-in-arms and have taunted federal and Naval officials investigating their behaviour. “It would be hilarious if one of these FBI or [Naval Criminal Investigative Service] f***s found their wife on here,” one member commented.

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Another wrote: “They can investigate all they want. It’s not illegal to share nudes lol.”

Fighting against “revenge porn”

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Organisations that fight against online sexual exploitation note that many states do not have any so-called “revenge porn” laws and when they do, they are not necessarily strong.

“We’ve been successful in encouraging legislators in these states to take up these laws, but that doesn’t mean that these states have come up with good ones,” Mary Anne Franks, a professor of law at the University of Miami and the legislative and tech policy director with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, told NBC News.

Prior to 2013, just three states had “revenge porn” laws. Now, more than 30 states and Washington DC have victim protection laws that prohibit the distribution of explicit photographs without the subject’s consent.

Investigating the nude photo scandal

Military officials and congressional leaders have been quick to denounce the activities of the Marines United members. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller renewed his denouncement of the attacks in an op-ed published in USA Today.

“There is no place in our Marine Corps for bullying, predatory sharing of private and explicit photographs, making sexually violent and derogatory comments, or generally disrespecting a fellow Marine, regardless of gender, race, religion or creed,” Neller wrote. “Such behaviour has a corrosive and negative effect on good order and discipline.”

Neller said the Marine Corps is responding to the allegations “with decisive action” which includes providing support to victims, investigating the attacks and taking “appropriate judicial or administrative action” if criminal behaviour is found. The commandant also announced the creation of a task force to address the “attitudes that contribute to this behaviour”.

Neller is expected to brief lawmakers on Tuesday (14 March) on the ongoing investigation in a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thronberry (R-Texas) told Military Times that committee members will speak to Neller about the investigation behind closed doors.

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Marines nude photo scandal: House Democrat to introduce bill banning 'revenge porn' in military

A California lawmaker will introduce a new bill on Thursday (16 March) that would make it illegal for service members to share nude photos of anyone without their consent. Congresswoman Jackie Speier announced the proposed legislation amid an ongoing investigation into allegations that Marines shared explicit images of female service members on a Facebook page called Marines United.

Speier, a ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, will introduce the Servicemembers Intimate Privacy Protection Act (SIPPA) in a press conference with women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and Marine veteran Erika Butner, a victim of the Marines United group. In a statement announcing the bill, Speier said the legislation would “close a massive gap” in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

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The proposed bill comes just days after General Robert Neller, commandant of the US Marine Corps, faced tough questions during a congressional hearing on the issue. Neller confirmed that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the allegations and promised that any service member found guilty of participating will be held accountable.

During the hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, lawmakers questioned Neller whether current statues within the Uniform Code of Military Justice were enough to deal with the alleged crimes, Military.com reported.

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“That’s something we’re going to get into with this task force, if there are provisions within UCMJ that may need to be more specific about this particular type of potential offense,” Neller responded to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut). Neller was referring to a task force created by the Marine Corps to establish how to proceed following the scandal.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) then asked Neller if a provision specifically addressing “revenge porn” would be necessary, to which Neller responded it might be. “I think that would be helpful in the accountability process,” he said. “But again, some of these pictures of these women, they were fully clothed, and it’s the commentary.”

A 9 March report by Business Insider revealed that the issue is not isolated to just the Marine Corps, but instead extends to all branches of the military. The Marine Corps, Army and Air Force are coordinating in their ongoing investigations.

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