Hundreds of marines investigated for sharing photos of nude servicewomen in secret Facebook group

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WASHINGTON — The Defense Department is investigating reports that Marines shared online naked photographs of female service members, veterans and other women, some taken without their knowledge, in a secret Facebook group.

Hundreds of marines are being investigated for their participation in the group, called “Marines United,” which reportedly featured hundreds – possibly thousands – of naked servicewomen and veterans, according to Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and nonprofit news outlet The War Horse.

The center says that along with pictures of identified female military members were photographs of unidentifiable women in various stages of undress.

The photos, the report says, were filled with lewd comments.

The Marine Corps Times reports that most of the group’s 30,000 members are U.S. marines, USMC veterans, and British Royal Marines.

The War Horse reporter Thomas Brennan who broke the story has reportedly received death threats after the story was published.

Gen. Robert Neller is commandant of the Marine Corps. He won’t comment directly on the investigation but says in a statement that targeting Marines, online or otherwise, in an inappropriate manner is distasteful and shows an absence of respect.

“There is no place for this type of demeaning or degrading behavior in our Corps,” said Sergeant Major Ronald L. Green, 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in a statement to CBS News. “Let me be perfectly clear; no person should be treated this way. It is inconsistent with our Core Values, and it impedes our ability to perform our mission.”