Panetta: Marines were punished for prostitute attack in prior incident

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that three Marines had been disciplined for an incident in December involving a prostitute in Brasilia.

The Marines were removed from Brazil and had their ranks reduced after allegedly pushing a prostitute out of a car in a dispute over payment, Panetta told reporters, according to The Associated Press.


Panetta discussed the prior prostitution punishment in Brasilia amid an investigation of 12 members of the U.S. military, who face allegations, along with Secret Service agents, in a prostitution incident in Cartagena, Colombia, that occurred ahead of the president’s visit earlier this month.

Panetta said Tuesday he had “no tolerance for that kind of conduct,” according to the AP.

"Where it takes place you can be sure that we will act to make sure that they are punished and that that kind of behavior is not acceptable," Panetta said.

The Secret Service confirmed Tuesday that another three agents were leaving as a result of the scandal, bringing the total to six agents.

The military has suspended the security clearances of the U.S. service members under investigation, but that investigation is still ongoing, and no disciplinary actions have taken place yet.

In the prostitution case in Brazil, the woman involved broke her collarbone when she was pushed from the car, the AP reported. The embassy tracked her down and paid her medical expenses, but she has since hired an attorney and is suing the embassy in the wake of the Colombian scandal, according to the AP.