Air Force officer charged over solicitation of graphic photos
An Air Force officer once assigned to the president’s security detail has been charged after allegedly encouraging a group of active military officers to send him graphic photos from different “cool” places around the world, according to The Associated Press.
Second Lt. Travis Burch could face a court-martial in Texas on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman after being arrested at an Air Force base there earlier in April as part of a case that investigators have been following for over a year, according to the AP.
The secret club known by the code name “Whiskey Delta Tango” consisted of 84 people, including 58 active military, who would reportedly take explicit photos of their genitals in different locations, and send them to him for a chance to win commemorative items.
Upon searching Burch’s quarters, investigators found the hard drive used to store the photos in a hollowed-out book, and items such as T-shirts and tokens emblazoned with a rooster given as rewards to club members who completed certain challenges.
Burch reportedly served on the presidential detail from 2014 to 2016 while stationed at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, and took his most recent explicit photo outside the vice president’s residence in Washington before being charged.
The defense lawyer for Burch has stated that his client and Burch’s compatriots committed no crimes, though the lieutenant could face a court-martial on any of three counts including that he solicited military members to commit indecent conduct.
The lieutenant’s lawyer said Burch began the club in a “jovial, joking spirit,” the AP reports.
The investigation comes as the military is adapting to stringent new rules to clamp down on inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct among members in each of the four branches, enacted in February.