LOS ANGELES - Alleged victims of a growing scandal involving explicit photos of female Marines posted on Facebook spoke out Wednesday alongside noted women's rights attorney Gloria Allred.
Nude photographs of female Marines, veterans from across the military, and other women were shared on the Facebook page "Marines United," and the accompanying posts included obscene and threatening comments.
The photos, which have now been taken down, showed women in various stages of undress, and some were identified and others were not. The site was touted as being for men only. Some posts suggested sexually assaulting women Marines and that women did not belong in the military branch, Allred said.
"These photos appear to have been posted without the knowledge and without the consent of the women whose photos were posted," Allred said.
An internal Marine Corps document obtained by The Associated Press said a former Marine maintained the Google Drive where the photos were shared, and that it had a following of about 30,000.
Two active-duty female Marines filed complaints about the photos, leading to the NCIS investigation.
Allred said the photos "led to the denigration and victimization of women who serve our country."
The commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps condemned the use of a secret Facebook page by some Marines to share nude photos of women, including female Marines. And he urged victims to come forward if they have been harassed or abused, including over social media.
Gen. Robert Neller, in a sharp video message released Tuesday, said Marines should be focused on preparing to fight, "not hiding on social media participating in or being aware of actions that are disrespectful and harmful to other Marines. It's embarrassing to our Corps, to our families and to the nation."
Allred called on Gen. Neller to meet with the victims of the photo scandal, which she said may number well into the hundreds. "Women who are United States Marines have earned and deserve our respect and trust," Allred said.
A former Marine seated beside Allred said she discovered a photo of herself posted to the Facebook group without her consent. She filed a complaint with NCIS.
"Victim-blaming and the excuse some people are giving that 'Boys will be boys,' needs to stop," she said.
Allred called the Facebook group and the posts contained therein a "betrayal" of women who serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"It's definitely extreme, pornographic, obscene," Allred said. "It's not a close call."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.