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US Marines Commanders Fired as Corps Tackles Sexist Abuse Scandal

CC0 / / The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense
The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense - Sputnik International
The US Marine Corps fired two of its enlisted commanders this year, after finding that they had neglected in their leadership to foster respectful and appropriate behavior toward women in their units.

The sackings come just a few months after a nude-photo sharing scandal within the Marines was exposed in March. 

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The photo-sharing debacle, in which thousands of explicit images of female soldiers and veterans were shared on Facebook and other social media sites, was received with outrage from many, including Senator Jon Tester, ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

"The fact that anyone in uniform has to deal with sexual assault or harassment during the course of their service to our country is unacceptable. We owe it to every woman and man affected by these awful acts to ensure they have access to the best possible care and the benefits they need," Tester said in a statement to The Hill.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) began an investigation after the malevolent acts of cyber sexual harassment, which include 131,000 photos posted on 168 social media sites. The two fired commanders — whose identities have not been revealed — are among a total of five Marine Corps unit commanders who were relieved this year.

The Marine Corps appears to be taking action following this bout of misogynistic and disrespectful behavior. Although neither of the two commanders were involved in the photo-sharing scandal, their employment was terminated due to a loss of trust in their leadership abilities.

According to Assistant Marine Corps Commander General Glenn Walters, "We have relieved commanders this year. Two out of those five who have been relieved I can directly attribute to an awareness of this issue and the fact that they did not have the correct command climate in what they said," reported the Washington Examiner. 

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Walters also added, "If the commander wasn't behaving right or holding his people accountable, then he was relieved of command. Simple as that." 

The Marine Corps has published more detailed social media policies and guidelines following the photo-sharing scandal. The new guidelines outline the legal repercussions that Marine recruits can now face if found guilty of participating in online misconduct. Incoming Marines are also required to sign a contract that they understand the new policies. 

To date, out of the 78 active-duty and reserve Marines who were identified as being involved in the photo scandal by the NCIS, 45 cases have been adjudicated. Thirty cases were referred to commanders for disposition and three others are still undergoing investigation.

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