2 soldiers were dropped a rank for 'bullying' after they catfished another soldier and shared their nude photos with their unit

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Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

Two soldiers with the 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Germany were recently punished after they catfished a fellow soldier and shared the soldier's nude photographs with others in their unit

The incident was first flagged by U.S. Army WTF Moments, which this week posted a photo of the unit's newsletter announcing a NCO and PFC "received Article 15s for Bullying,' according to Army Times.

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Photo: U.S. Army WTF Moments

According to the newsletter, a staff sergeant and private "conspired ... to use a fake social media account and obtain nude photographs" from another Pvt. 1st Class.

The two pretended to be "a fictional romantic interest," and got the other private send nude photos, which they then shared with other soldiers in their company and "joked about."

They both received Article 15s and were reduced a rank. The genders of those involved weren't made clear in the post.

This comes just a day after the Pentagon released it's latest sexual assault report, which showed assaults are at a four-year high; most of the perpetrators are E-3 to E-5, at the same rank or slightly above their victims.

While more cases of assault are being reported, fewer are being referred to court-martial in part because commanders are using administrative action to deal with offenders.

On Thursday, hours before the Pentagon's report was released, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand raised this issue to Army Chief of Staff nominee Gen. James McConville, asking for his commitment to making the eradication of assault a priority.

"It's an issue of climate," Gillibrand said. "There's been an increase overall for percentage of all members who experienced unhealthy climate. This is your job. This is chain of command's job. You set the tone ... We have heard from survivors that the reason they don't report as often as they could is because they don't believe the chain of command will have their back."

The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act made "revenge porn" — maliciously distributing sexually explicit photos of another person — criminal under the UCMJ, mostly as a result of the 2017 "Marines United" scandal. Article 117a, which addresses the issue of sharing sexually explicit content, applies to the "broadcast" and "distribution" of images.

The 21st TSC did not immediately respond to request for comment from Task & Purpose.

SEE ALSO: Military Sexual Assaults Have Reached A Four-year High As The Pentagon Downplays Its Failures