A U.S. Marine who pleaded guilty to sharing explicit photos of female Marines in a secret online Facebook group was sentenced to 10 days confinement, according to a statement from the U.S. Marine Corps.
Military officials announced Monday that the unidentified marine has been sentenced to a military jail, and a "reduction in rank by three grades, and a forfeiture of two-thirds of one month’s pay.” Officials also said the Corps has begun the process to “administratively separate” from the Marine, which is the process used to fire Marines.
The Marine in question was being investigated as a part of the “Marines United” photo scandal, which revealed that members of the military were sharing sexually explicit photos of female Marines online.
The controversy forced the Corps to launch multiple investigations into the conduct of more than 80 Marines, as well as the culture of sexual harassment within the Marines, according to the Marine Corps.
“To date, command dispositions have resulted in one summary court-martial, two administrative separations, seven non-judicial punishments, and 22 adverse administrative actions,” the Corps said in the statement.
The U.S. military relies on its own court-martial system to bring charges against service members and determine appropriate punishments. Daniel Conway, a lawyer who specializes in military law, said the fact that none of the Marines have been criminally charged by the military stands out.
"It's awfully interesting that none of them have been criminally charged," Conway said. "It may signal that there's potential problems with the quality of the evidence, or that there's different levels of egregiousness to the conduct."
Although he doesn't represent any of those accused in the "Marines United" scandal, Conway said based on his experience with the military justice system, he believes the administrative proceedings will likely result in this particular Marine receiving an "other-than-honorable" discharge from the service.
If this were to occur, Conway said it would be the "most severe" form of punishment for this conduct.