Pentagon assures investigation into nude photo scandal

An investigation is promised by Pentagon into a nude photo scandal hitting the American armed forces.

According to America’s defense secretary James Mattis said “all appropriate action” was being taken in all branches of the armed forces.

The scandal began when nude photos of female Marines were published online by male colleagues. But fewer than 10 female Marines have come forward to make a formal complaint, a top Marine official said.

General Robert Neller hopes more women would come forward to help the investigation.

The scandal initially broke when current and former members of the US Marines were discovered sharing naked photos of female servicewomen on Facebook, in a group called “Marines United”.

Since then, other anonymous online message boards have been soliciting and publishing hundreds of nude photos of female personnel from other armed forces.

General Neller Speaking at a Pentagon news conference on Friday, he said he did not know how many Marines were involved in the posting, or how many have been targeted.

“If you’re participating in this type of behaviour in any way shape or form – you’re not helping me or your Marine Corps,” he said.

“You know we claim that being a Marine is a special title and something that you earn. There’s honour here. But there is no honour in denigrating a fellow Marine in any way shape or form.”

On Wednesday, two women who said they were victims spoke out publicly alongside their lawyer, urging others to come forward.

“I can tell you that this exact behaviour leads to the normalisation of sexual harassment and even sexual violence,” said Erika Butner, 23, who served in the Marines for four years until last June.

US Department of Defense has mentioned the “policy guidance” to prevent and deal with “sexual harassment and hazing”.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is due to hold a hearing on the issue next week.

Marines United’s activity was first uncovered by The War Horse, a non-profit news organisation run by Marine veteran Thomas Brennan.