Some of the first women to serve on U.S. submarines were allegedly secretly recorded over the course of a year as they undressed and showered.
According to the Navy Times, at least three officers were filmed aboard the USS Wyoming. Naval Criminal Investigative Service officials are investigating an unidentified 24-year-old male suspected of making and distributing the videos.
Nearly three weeks after an initial report was circulated among senior leaders, Navy brass have yet to take a firm public stance on the alleged harassment.
“At the very least, they should have said how they take these alleged actions very seriously, and will do whatever it takes to make sure women and men feel safe when they come to work aboard the ships and submarines they are assigned to,” a female former Navy surface warfare officer told TheBlaze.
“Yes, they should take the time to properly investigate this singular incident, but in general, the Navy needs to show their commitment to rooting out this kind of behavior, and waiting weeks to say anything about it just makes it look like they are trying to hide bad news,” she said.
An incident report filed Nov. 14 and distributed among top Navy leadership describes the circumstances of the investigation but identified the accused sailor only by his rank: second class petty officer.
Navy Lt. Leslie Hubbell, Submarine Group 10 spokeswoman, told news outlets in a statement Wednesday, “The Navy became aware of the alleged criminal activity in November 2014 and promptly began an investigation, which is ongoing.”
“If the allegations prove to be factual, the Navy will ensure individuals involved are held accountable for their actions,” she said.
A spokesman from the Submarine Forces Atlantic command told TheBlaze that Navy leadership has not released any statement about the alleged filming.
“There may be something forthcoming, but as of right now the current statement provided by Lt. Hubbell is the only approved Navy response at this time,” the spokesman said.
A retired former female submarine officer, who asked to remain anonymous, seems to be the primary source of information about the case thus far. The Navy Times quoted the retired lieutenant, a former supply officer, and one of the first women assigned to a Navy submarine, who said female military members looking to take on jobs historically filled by men should think twice.
“I just want women, who are all starry-eyed about this, to know what they’re getting themselves into,” she told the Navy Times, adding that discrimination and harassment took place while women were integrated into other male-dominant military roles, but publicly addressing the issue is key to rooting out the bad actors.
“If you don’t talk about it, and you let the offenders get away with it, at the end of the day you’re actually saying it’s OK,” she said.
Another former submarine officer, a man who asked not to be named, told Military.com harassment like this almost expected.
“It sucks. It was bound to happen,” the Navy official said. “Incidents like this show we are not where we want to be. This is the stuff we need to flush out to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”