A large number of active-duty Marines are currently under investigation for allegedly sharing nude photos of female troops without consent. Such conduct falls under multiple UCMJ provisions, including: Article 134, Article 133, and Article 120.
Article 134, a general catch-all provision of the UCMJ, readily reaches the conduct of the Marines who participated in the sharing of the nude photos. Under Article 134, the range of punishment is subject to the discretion of the court – including court-martial if the court finds such allegations substantiated.
Article 133 punishes conduct that is unbecoming of an officer and gentleman. Although not as broad as the reach of Article 134, this provision is still applicable under several circumstances. The Marines' alleged conduct threatens both the integrity of the Marine Core and the respect and well-being of the victims whose photos were shared.
Article 120, prior to 2012, applied only to specific sexual crimes. Article 120 has since been revised to include a broader range of sexual offenses, including those with no physical contact. The relevant use of Article 120 here governs the unconsented broadcasting or distribution of indecent visual recording, if the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Considering the nature of the photos, it is likely that the victims did not expect the photos to be shared publicly.
Since the rise of social media in the last ten years, incidents such as this have unfortunately become commonplace in many arenas, including the military. Although this incident likely began with mostly innocent intentions, the effects of sharing nude photos between fellow troops harms multiple parties, including the reputation of the Marine Core itself.