Senator calls for hearing over Marines nude photo scandal

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is asking that the Committee on Armed Services hold a hearing and investigate the reported online sharing by current and former Marines of nude photos of female service members, as a woman whose picture was posted is speaking out.

"As a Marine Corps veteran, I am disheartened and disgusted with this scandal," said Erika Butner, who served in the Marines for four years until June and whose photo was posted to a "Marines United" Facebook page without her consent, during a news conference Wednesday.

"Victim blaming and the excuse that some are giving that 'boys will be boys' needs to stop," Butner, 23, said.

Photos from the conference:

8 PHOTOS
Erika Butner, victim in Marine nude photo scandal, speaks out
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Erika Butner, victim in Marine nude photo scandal, speaks out
Former United States Marine Erika Butner is seen during a press conference concerning personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former United States Marine Erika Butner hold up a picture of herself as a U.S. Marine following a press conference concerning personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former United States Marine Erika Butner speaks during a press conference concerning personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A tattoo is seen on the forearm of former United States Marine Erika Butner during a press conference concerning personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Attorney Gloria Allred listens as former United States Marine Erika Butner speaks during a press conference concerning personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Attorney Gloria Allred represents two female United States Marines, active duty Marine Marisa Woytek (L) and former Marine Erika Butner (R) during a press conference concerning their personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Attorney Gloria Allred represents two female United States Marines, active duty Marine Marisa Woytek (L) and former Marine Erika Butner (R) during a press conference concerning their personal photographs being posted without their consent to a "Marine Unit" Facebook page in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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The scandal involved naked photos of more than two dozen women service members being posted online. Some were of current active duty Marines or of those who have served, and photos were shared of women in other branches of the military. Many of the comments posted online were graphic, and some condoned sexual assault and rape. Personal information like names, rank, and duty stations was also posted online.

Marines Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller has called the actions "embarrassing to our Corps, to our families and to the nation."

Gillibrand, a Democrat who represents New York, in a letter to Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed, said she wants a hearing to determine whether the online sharing of naked photos and the comments are part of a larger pattern of misconduct in the armed services.

"This unacceptable behavior spotlights a culture of disrespect for female service members that undermines good order and discipline in the military and weakens military readiness," Gillibrand wrote in the letter.

Butner said she was in the Marines for four years before leaving the Corps in June. In August she learned from a friend that a photo of her had been posted to the Facebook page without her consent and in January she notified the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Google about a shared drive that contained photos of women, some of whom were naked.

"I knew some of these women did not give their permission to post their photos and some were not aware that they were posted," she said.

Learn more about women in the Marines:

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Women in the US Marines
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Women in the US Marines
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - MARCH 08: United States Marine Corps recruit Maria Martinez, 19, of Santa Anna, California trains during boot camp March 8, 2007 at Parris, Island, South Carolina. The Department of Defense has asked Congress to increase the size of the Marine Corps by 27,000 troops and the Army by 65,000 over the next five years. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - JANUARY 15: United States Marine Corps female recruit Jessica Waseca crawls on her back under barbed wire January 15, 2003 during the test exercise called The Crucible at boot camp at Parris Island, SC. The Marines train an average of 3,700 male recruits and 600 females a day at Parris Island. The Crucible is a 54 hour final exam to test the skills the recruits have learned during basic training. (Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - MARCH 08: Female United States Marine Corps recruits receive instructions for a training exercise during boot camp March 8, 2007 at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Department of Defense has asked Congress to increase the size of the Marine Corps by 27,000 troops and the Army by 65,000 over the next five years. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Pfc. Tiffany Mash of Torrance, California leads a company of Marines, both male and female, carrying 55 pound packs at the start of a 10 kilometer training march during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Male and female Marines climb an obstacle on the Endurance Course during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 20, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Male and female Marines participate together in a combat conditioning exercise during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 20, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating boot camp. It has been required for enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Female Marine recruits prepare to fire on the rifle range during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Pvt. Tatiana Maldonado of Dallas, Texas trains with male and female Marines as she learns patrolling techniques at Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Female Marine recruits stand in formation during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Pvt. Megan Randall of Huntersville, North Carolina cleans a machine gun during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Cpl. David Peck (C) from New Market, Tennessee instructs female Marines as they prepare to fire on the rifle range during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Male and female Marines do abdominal crunches while running the Endurance Course during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 20, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Sgt. Jarrod Simmons tries to motivate his squad of Marines before they head out on a 10 kilometer training march carrying 55 pound packs during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Female and male Marine recruits listen to instructions as they prepare for a swimming test during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. Male and female recruits are expected to meet the same standards during their swim qualification test. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A U.S. marine drinks the blood of a cobra during a jungle survival exercise with the Thai Navy as part of the "Cobra Gold 2013" joint military exercise, at a military base in Chon Buri province February 20, 2013. About 13,000 soldiers from seven countries, Thailand, U.S., Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are participating in the 11-day military exercise. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (THAILAND - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY SOCIETY)
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Related: Nude Photo Posts of Female Marines Being Investigated by NCIS

The "Marines United" Facebook page and shared drives where photos were distributed came to light this week after it was reported by the War Horse, a nonprofit news organization run by Thomas Brennan, himself a Marine veteran, and published by the Center for Investigative Reporting on Saturday

The "Marines United" Facebook page has been taken down, and the military is investigating. A Marine veteran who first posted the drive link to share photos was fired from his job as a government subcontractor, and a Marine who posted photos of a woman at Camp Lejeune was discharged from active duty, according to the report.

Although the "Marines United" page has been taken down, active duty Marine Lance Cpl. Marisa Woytek said this week that other shared drives are still active. "These people aren't stopping. They're making it a point to be worse," she said in a phone interview.

Woytek appeared with Butner at Wednesday's press conference, along with attorney Gloria Allred. Woytek said she was clothed in photos posted online, but she said in a statement that "comments were made regarding sexual violence."

Butner encouraged other victims to come forward. "We will not be silenced," she said.

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