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2 Marine Commanders Fired, 33 Others Punished In Wake Of Nude-Photo Scandal
The Marine Corps has fired two commanders for problems within their units related to the treatment of women as the service continues to investigate dozens of Marines involved in a nude photo-sharing scandal, service leaders said Tuesday.
Two of five Marine Corps commanders removed from duty in 2017 were due to a loss of trust and confidence in their ability to lead their units because of the way their troops behaved toward women, Gen. Glenn Walters, the service’s No. 2 general, told reporters at the Pentagon. He declined to name the commanders who had been dismissed.
“They didn’t have the correct command climate in what they did,” said Walters, the Marines’ assistant commandant. “…If the commander wasn’t behaving right or holding his people accountable, then he was relieved of command. Simple as that.”
It was the first time that the Marine Corps had acknowledged punishing commanders for problems related to the so-called Marines United scandal, in which some male Marines were accused in March of sharing revealing and often explicit photographs of female Marines through a private Facebook group.
In addition to the two fired commanders, two Marines have been involuntarily separated from service, another has been jailed and 30 others have faced some form of reprimand for actions related to the scandal, said Marine Maj. Iain Pedden, leader of the Marine Corps’ military justice branch.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has identified 78 active-duty and reservist Marines as persons of interest in a range of activities related to the Marines United scandal, Pedden said Tuesday. To date, 45 cases have been adjudicated, 30 have been sent to commanders for disposition and three others are continuing to be investigated by NCIS.
The 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Ronald L. Green, speaks to Marines assigned to Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North aboard Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans, La., Jan. 20, 2016.Lauren Katzenberg
Most of the Marines who have been punished have avoided a court-martial. Twenty-three received an adverse administrative action, typically a letter of reprimand in their official record, and seven have received some form of non-judicial punishment, which can include a reduction in rank or temporary dock in pay, Pedden said.
The single Marine who has faced a court-martial on charges of sharing explicit photographs was sentenced in July to 10 days confinement, a demotion of three ranks and forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay for one month, the Marine Corps said. The male, enlisted Marine was not identified.
Walters said Tuesday that the Marines is working to build a culture of acceptance among all Marines from the time that they are recruits until their last day in the Corps. He said the service is analyzing adjustments that it could make to several programs to aid that culture adjustment.
Changes the Marines are studying include fully integrating female recruits into training at the service’s two recruit depots at Paris Island in South Carolina and San Diego in California, he said. Women only attend basic training on Paris Island now and are assigned to female-only units.
Walters declined to speculate when a decision about integrating women into boot camps would be made, saying it was only in the “analysis phase.”
“If we’re going to change the culture of the Marine Corps, we need to change the way we are organized,” he said. “We are looking at all options … This is not small task, and it will take some time.”
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
A Marine Raider convicted in a North Carolina court of misdemeanor assault for punching his girlfriend won't spend any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation, a court official told Task & Purpose.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.
That's right, Superman is (at least temporarily) trading in his red cape, blue tights, and red silk underpants for a high and tight, a skivvy shirt and, well, he's still rocking silkies.