BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The nation’s top Marine has come forward, pleading with female Marines to come forward, if nude photos of them were posted online without their permission in an online military nude photo scandal.
The investigation has now spread though all branches of the military.READ MORE: Now That Students Have Returned To The Classroom, One Question Remains: Are Children Safe?
To show how serious this matter is, top military officials have now created a task force to see how widespread this problem really is, as it remains unclear how people may be involved, or if there will be any legal consequences.
The Department of Defense is now probing this website Anon-IB, where some uncovered that nude photos of female service members of all branches were appearing.Cloaked under the premise of being able to stay anonymous, some posts asked specifically for nude images under the code of something called “wins.”
Cloaked under the premise of being able to stay anonymous, some posts asked specifically for nude images under the code ‘wins.’
“They would say, Fort Bragg, anybody have any wins? And ‘wins’ of this forum means nude photos,” says Paul Szoldra, with Business Insider.
The scandal first came to light when a Facebook page called “Marines United” surfaced.
One post there called for explicit images of female Marine Erika Butner.
“As a rape survivor, I can tell you that this exact behavior leads to the normalization of sexual harassment and even sexual violence,” she says.
After that page was shut down, another surfaced. Officials say there may be a half a dozen others.READ MORE: 'I'm All About Ellicott City' Ellicott City Residents & Business Owners React To Number 10 Ranking On Money Magazine's 'Best Places To Live List'
The nation’s top Marine expressed his frustration and disgust over the allegations.
“This undermines everything that we stand for as a Marine Corps and as Marines,” says General Robert Neller, Marine Corps commandant.
So far, fewer than ten women victims have come foward, officials have plead for any others to follow suit.
“We’re going to do all we can to get to the bottom of this and I need their help,” says Gen. Neller.
One legal expert tells WJZ, victims may be able to seek justice, but a case like this could present legal challenges.
“You have to prove a lot of things that are very hard to prove. Who exactly posted the images, where they came from,” says Baltimore attorney Adam Ruther.
In some states like Maryland, criminal penalties could apply if a victim can prove the images were posted with intent to cause distress.
A top enlisted member of the Marines called the Facebook page at the heart of the scandal just the “tip of the spear.”MORE NEWS: Audit Finds Electronic Tolls Overbilled Maryland Drivers
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is also looking into the matter.