Marines Photo Scandal Led To ‘Victimization Of Women Who Serve Our Country’

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two women who served as U.S. Marines – one of whom is still active duty – spoke out Wednesday about having their photos posted on a secret Facebook page without their consent.

Erika Butner, who served in the Marines until last year, and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Marisa Woytek, told reporters at a news briefing flanked by their attorney Gloria Allred that they were victimized on the “Marines United” page, which is currently being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The secret Facebook group, which has about 30,000 members, featured images of female Marines and other women, sometimes in the nude or partially clothed, and was viewed by Marines both active and retired, with many members posting crude or even threatening comments.

“As a result of that posting, a former Marine posted a comment asking if anyone had naked photos of me,” Butner said.

The photos have since been taken down. Butner is calling on other victims to come forward and file complaints with the Department of Defense.

“You are not alone,” Butner said.

Allred said the victims of the photo scandal could number in the hundreds, and that the private page “led to the denigration and victimization of women who serve our country.”

“It’s had an enormous emotional impact,” Allred said.

The DOD confirmed an investigation is underway into Marines United. On Tuesday, Gen. Robert Neller, the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, released a video condemning the page and urging victims to come forward if they have been abused or harassed on social media.

Allred is asking for a face-to-face meeting with Neller.

Butner said she became aware that her photo was posted to the page without her permission last August.

“Victim-blaming and the excuse some people are giving that ‘boys will be boys’ needs to stop,” she said.

When asked if she planned to file a lawsuit on behalf of her clients, Allred told KCAL9 she had no comment.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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