The nude-photo scandal rocking the U.S. Marine Corps is far bigger than first believed, according to a new report out Thursday.
Mattis added that the Pentagon was "taking all appropriate action" to investigate any wrongful behavior of active-duty service members.
A 2014 study by the RAND Corporation found that nearly 5 percent of female military service members were sexually assaulted in the year prior to the study, and that "52 percent of active-component women perceived that they experienced professional or social retaliation after reporting a sexual assault".
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"We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield", said Mattis. Today, two female soldiers identified themselves as victims of the illegal photo sharing ring, urging others to similarly step up and meet the Marines' top commander, General Robert Neller. Business Insider reported that a link to a DropBox folder called "Girls of MU" (Marines United) was being passed around.
Business Insider reported details about a site, AnonIB, that "has a dedicated board for military personnel that features dozens of threaded conversations among men, many of whom ask for "wins" - naked photographs - of specific female service members".
She said they were "laughed off".
Erika Butner, with her attorney Gloria Allred, told reporters in Los Angeles on Wednesday that photos of her and other victims were posted without authorization to a Facebook group and to Google Drive.
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2003 - Sexual assault scandals stained the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and its San Antonio recruit training depot nine years later. "And women, they did their thing, and I don't know what else they got to do to, like, say 'Yeah, OK, good to go, '" Neller said.
Twitter users reacted to the nude photo scandal.
Timothy Parlatore, a NY criminal defense attorney and former surface warfare officer who does pro-bono UCMJ work with sailors, said that Article 134, which covers actions prejudicial to good order and discipline and that bring discredit to the service, would likely be the net that the services use to punish active duty personnel who shared photos or made aggressive or harassing comments on the site.
Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson said the Army "is a values-based organization where everyone is expected to be treated with dignity and respect".
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"They're going to look at what's going on, while developing plans for corrective actions and recommendations to policies, procedures, education and training of Marines that will prevent this in the future and the culture - I'd say subculture - that may have given rise to this", he said.