The U.S. Navy has issued new regulations that would make it a punishable offense to share nude photos of service members without the subject's consent.
The new rules were created after a nude photo scandal rocked the U.S. military. The Navy Times reported that the photos were widely available online through photo sharing platforms, including Facebook.
"The addition of Article 1168 'Nonconsensual distribution or broadcasting of an image' to Navy Regulations serves to underscore leadership's commitment to eliminating degrading behaviors that erode trust and weaken the Navy and Marine Corps Team," said Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, the Navy's chief spokesperson, according to ABC News.
Cutler said the new regulations will give commanders "another tool to maintain good order and discipline by holding sailors and Marines accountable for inappropriate conduct in the nonconsensual sharing of intimate imagery.
"This article adds the potential charge of Article 92 'Failure to obey order or regulation' to the possible charges that can be used against an alleged perpetrator. Each case of alleged misconduct will be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances," she added.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley announced publicly that he regretted the actions of certain service members.
"It is a call to arms in the wake of recent reports of unprofessional and inappropriate social media behavior by some who have lost sight of that most fundamental purpose they themselves are duty-bound to serve," he stated, according to CNN. "Our ability to succeed as a war-fighting organization is directly tied to our ability to fight as one team -- a team that treats one another honorably."
Officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service estimated that approximately 500 had people gained access to a drive containing photos of nude female Marines, many of which were then shared on a Facebook group, according to the Military Times.
"This issue of denigration of women, objectification of women, misogyny -- just bad behavior -- is tied to the way some group of male Marines look at women in the Marine Corps," said Gen. Robert Neller. "And I think we can fix that by holding those accountable."
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York blasted the Marine Corps for not filing criminal charges against the perpetrators.
"When you say to us, 'it's got to be different,' that rings hollow," Gilligrand told Neller during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "Have you actually investigated and found anybody guilty? If we can't crack Facebook, how are we supposed to be able to confront Russian aggression? It is a serious problem when we have members of our military denigrating female Marines who will give their life for this country."
Sources: ABC News, Military Times, Navy Times, CNN / Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Vladimir Ramos/U.S. Navy