- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 20, 2017

The U.S. Navy implemented new regulations this week officially barring service members from sharing so-called “revenge porn” as military investigators set their sights on dozens of individuals implicated in a recent social media scandal including active duty personnel and civilians alike.

Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley announced the policy change in a message Tuesday that said the “wrongful distribution or broadcasting of an intimate image is prohibited,” effective immediately.

“Wrongful distribution” is defined as sharing something without legal justification or excuse, particularly with the intent “to realize personal gain” or “to humiliate, harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person” or shared “with reckless disregard,” according to its language.

The policy change is a direct consequence of a recent social media scandal centered around the nonconsensual sharing of private photographs among active Marines, colloquially referred to as “revenge porn,” ABC News reported.

“The addition of Article 1168 ‘Nonconsensual distribution or broadcasting of an image’ to Navy Regulations serves to underscore leadership’s commitment to eliminating degrading behaviors that erode trust and weaken the Navy and Marine Corps Team,” said Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, the Navy’s chief spokesperson.

“It provides commanders another tool to maintain good order and discipline by holding sailors and Marines accountable for inappropriate conduct in the nonconsensual sharing of intimate imagery,” she added.

Each allegation of misconduct will be independently reviewed, she said in a statement. Punishment under the provision could range from administrative action to criminal charges, BuzzFeed News reported.

News broke in March that thousands of active and retired Marines had allegedly used a closed Facebook group to share intimate images of their female colleagues without consent. Navy investigators have since identified at least 27 individuals believed to be implicated in the scandal, including 15 active duty service members and a dozen civilians.

Outside the armed serviced, 35 states and the nation’s capital have passed laws against revenge porn.

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