An enlisted Marine has received a ten-day jail sentence for sharing nude photos of female troops in a private Facebook group, officials announced Monday.
Military.com reports that the marine is the first to be charged in the scandal, in which hundreds of servicemembers were discovered to be contributing to a private Facebook group called “Marines United,” which featured hundreds — possibly thousands — of nude servicewomen and veterans.
A nonprofit military news outlet called The War Horse broke the story back in March, and said that most of the group’s 30,000 members are U.S. marines, USMC veterans, and British Royal Marines.
War Horse reporter Thomas Brennan who broke the story reportedly received death threats after the story was published.
“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 at the time. “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.”
The convicted marine pleaded guilty at a summary court-martial on June 29 and was sentenced to 10 days of confinement, demotion by three ranks, and forfeiture of two-thirds of one month’s pay. The Marine Corps is also moving to administratively separate him from the service, according to a Corps news release.
The marine was not identified by name or rank, but is reportedly one of dozens under investigation.
Some have already received penalties for derogatory comments made in the group about enlisted senior leaders.
“In the comments that transpired underneath it, they made comments about a variety of subjects, which opened them up to the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” ” the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Glenn Walters, told reporters at the Pentagon back in April.
“This is a good a start,” Erin Kirk-Cuomo told the Washington Post. Kirk-Cuomo is a former Marine sergeant who co-founded Not in My Marine Corps, a group committed to ending sexual assault and sexual harassment in the armed services. “These guys weren’t advocating for the assault of women and they’re being punished,” she said. “The Marine Corps is taking swift action, and that’s exactly what we need.”
On Monday, the group expressed displeasure with the marine’s 10-day sentence on Twitter, later writing “apparently #SexualViolence is a minor offense in @usmc.”