Marine charged with revenge porn in first known arrest since ‘Marines United’ scandal

Marine revenge porn Master Sgt. Theophilus Thomas

Jacksonville Police Department


An active-duty Marine stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River was arrested last week for allegedly posting nude photos of a civilian woman online without her consent, North Carolina’s Jacksonville Daily News reported.

It's the first known arrest of a military servicemember by civilian authorities for revenge porn in the aftermath of the “Marines United” scandal that rocked the Marine Corp in March.

Master Sgt. Theophilus Thomas, a 39-year-old Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing stationed Marine Corps Air Station New River, was arrested by the Jacksonville Police Department and charged with disclosure of private images, a felony offense under North Carolina law.

From the Jacksonville Daily News:

Thomas is accused of posting one nude photo of a 24-year-old woman in addition to posting six photos of that same woman wearing nothing but her underwear, according to warrants.

The woman is not in the military, according to JPD Media Liaison Beth Purcell, but she and Thomas were previously in a relationship.

Purcell declined to specify whether the woman knew about or consented to the photos being taken, citing the ongoing investigation.

The police department learned of the incident when it was reported to them on April 14, the same day the photo was allegedly posted, Purcell said.

Despite the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s ongoing investigation into revenge porn in the Corps, Thomas’ case appears to be entirely a civilian affair. Capt. Ashley Weaver told the Daily News that while Jacksonville police were taking the lead on the investigation, the department “[keeps] an open line of communication with NCIS on all cases involving military personnel.”

Thomas’ arrested came the same day that acting Secretary of the Navy Sean J. Stackley released an interim revision to Navy regulations effectively criminalizing the non-consensual distribution of explicit images by sailors and Marines, according to the Daily News. It is unclear if any other service members have been formally reprimanded under the new regulations yet.

Secretary of Navy STACKLEY

Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, Naval Criminal Investigative Service director Andrew Traver announced that military investigators had identified at least 27 individuals — including 15 active-duty Marines — believed to have engaged in “criminal activity” as part of the non-consensual distribution of explicit photos on the Marines United Facebook group.

And in March, new social media guidance published by the Marine Corps connected illicit internet activity with Article 92, or failure to obey a lawful general order: “Marines must never engage in commentary or publish content on social networking platforms or through other forms of communication that harm good order and discipline or that bring discredit upon themselves, their unit, or the Marine Corps.”

A spokesman for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing told Task & Purpose that New River personnel are working closely with both NCIS and local authorities “to ensure a thorough investigation” in Thomas’ alleged crimes.

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