No Charges Against US Military in Colombia Prostitution Scandal

Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012 07:51 PM

 

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The U.S. military said on Wednesday it would not pursue criminal charges against 10 service members implicated in the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, opting for lesser punishments and, in one case, a simple letter of reprimand.

U.S. military troops and Secret Service agents were helping provide security arrangements for President Barack Obama before his April visit to a summit in the seaside city of Cartagena.

Secret Service employees were accused of bringing women, some of them prostitutes, back to their hotel rooms in Colombia. The agency said later that nine personnel were found to have been involved in serious misconduct. The incident overshadowed Obama's visit and embarrassed the services involved.

The U.S. military's Southern Command did not disclose the nature of the accusations against the service members, including whether they were directly involved in prostitution.

But three of the soldiers accused have requested a trial by court-martial, meaning the details in their cases would likely be made public when proceedings begin in the coming weeks.

The military recommended that seven soldiers and two Marines receive "non-judicial punishments," a broad category that one U.S. official speaking on background said could range from reduction in rank to a monetary fine.

A member of the Air Force was also given a letter of reprimand after the military concluded he had not broken military law. None of the 10 service members was an officer.

Southern Command said two cases remained under legal review.

While prostitution is legal in Colombia, it is illegal for service members under U.S. military law.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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