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Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller responds to an angry and skeptical Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March, 14, 2017, before the committee's hearing on the investigation of nude photographs of female Marines and other women that were shared on the Facebook page "Marines United." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The top US Marine vowed to combat online sexual harassment during a Senate hearing


UPDATE on March 14 at 6:39 p.m.:

The top US Marine told senators in a Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that he intends to solve the problem that led to current and former Corps members sharing nude photos of female Marines online and making lewd or threatening comments about them, the Associated Press reported.

The congressional committee, however, said the military hasn't done enough to combat sexual assault and harassment despite years of complaints. 

Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, pledged to hold Marines accountable through whatever legal and other means possible, while acknowledging that the scandal may deter female recruitment to the Corps.

Senate committee members weren't convinced with Neller's promises to solve the systemic issue, though. He faced a fierce trove of questions and criticisms from women members of the panel.

WATCH | Gen. Robert Neller testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee

"This committee has heard these kinds of statements before," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat. "It's hard to believe something is really going to be done," she said. "Why should we believe it's going to be different this time than it has in the past?"

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has launched the only investigation into the matter, though the Army, Navy and Air Force said they are looking into it. 

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personal is expected to summon the military branches on March 21 to discuss their social media policies and changes.

Original story

A Facebook group called "Marines United" that included hundreds of Marines was a hotbed for sharing naked photos of female servicewomen and degrading comments.

That group has sparked a Department of Defense investigation, according to The Center for Investigative Reporting

The photo sharing began less than a month after the first Marine infantry unit was assigned women on Jan. 5.

We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and with each other: This behavior hurts our fellow Marines, family members and civilians.
Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green

A report filed by Marine veteran Thomas Brennan, who runs the news organization The War Horse, led to many social media accounts involved in the photo-sharing being shut down. But weeks later, more photos of female Marines were posted to the group.

marines 2.jpg
Lance Cpl. Andreas Padilla, right, of Los Angeles, and Sgt. Freddia Cavasos, of Visalia, Calif., both with India Company, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, First Marine Division , return fire during a patrol, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 in Sangin, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

More than 2,500 comments about the photos of female troops were left by members of Marines United. Dozens of Google Drive folders were full of information on the women, including nude photographs, some of which were taken by the women involved.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is more coming.
Marines United poster

A memo sent to generals Friday warned them of possible reactions to the story, advising them that critics would bemoan the Corps becoming "soft or politically correct."

In addition to breaking Marine rules, the group violates Facebook's terms of use.

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II, bottom, flies next to an F-16 Fighting Falcon, as the two make a flyby after an unveiling celebration takes place at Luke Air Force Base for the delivery of the first F-35A fighter jet, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. It is the first delivery of an anticipated total of 144 F-35A planes destined for Luke AFB. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The U.S. military has been plagued by sexual misconduct scandals. Retired four-star Air Force Gen. Arthur Lichte lost a star and nearly $60,000 from his pension after engaging in sexual misconduct with a subordinate. His lawyer vowed to appeal.

WATCH | For more news you need, check out Circa 60.

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