The House passed legislation on Wednesday to prohibit nonconsensual distribution of intimate images in the military in the aftermath of the Marine Corps’s nude-photo-sharing scandal.
Under the measure, passed on a vote of 418-0, the Uniform Code of Military Justice would be amended to specifically prohibit the sharing of such images. Service members in violation would be subject to punishment by court martial.
Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyKelly raises million in third quarter Ruben Gallego is left's favorite to take on Sinema Texas not hiring private contractor for election audit MORE (R-Ariz.) introduced the legislation after revelations in March that service members allegedly shared nude photos of female Marines in a private Facebook group. The group, called "Marines United," had nearly 30,000 followers.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has since launched an investigation.
“The Neanderthals who committed these acts are not emblematic of the vast majority of decent and honorable servicemembers who serve our nation," said McSally, a retired Air Force colonel and combat veteran.
"However, the notion that any servicemember would think it is acceptable to upload, view, or comment on nude photos of their fellow servicemembers is a serious problem that must be fixed,” she added.
The Marine Corps Times reported this month that five Marines have been disciplined for their involvement in the photo-sharing scandal, while another 16 suspects have been identified.
An interim revision to Navy regulations made in April prohibits Navy and Marine Corps personnel from posting intimate photos “if the person making the distribution or broadcast does so without legal justification or excuse,” according to the Navy Times.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a federal statute explicitly addressing nonconsensual pornography.
“That is why a federal law is needed to provide a single, clear articulation of the elements of this crime to ensure that Americans in every part of the country — civilian and military — are protected if they are subjected to this heinous abuse,” Speier said.