A Navy admiral said the allegations of a male sailor secretly videotaping female sailors aboard a ballistic missile submarine could erode the trust and confidence essential to the entire Navy.
"If that activity of one of our sailors is founded, it really erodes the trust and confidence which is essential to the whole Navy and the submarine force," Rear Adm. Richard Snyder, director of the 21st century sailor office, told reporters Thursday.
Snyder was addressing an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation of allegations that a 24-year old male sailor secretly videotaped female sailors while they were undressing and showering on the submarine – and then distributed the video.
Snyder said the fact that these allegations are coming to light at the same time the Navy was releasing its annual report on sexual assault prevention does not change the circumstances.
"I am aware of the allegations of the criminal activity regarding one of our submarines in Kings Bay. I think it leads again to the point that any alleged criminal activity regardless of the timing or the relationship to any other report is really contrary to our core values," he added.
The videos, reportedly recorded over a one year period, are believed to show at least three female officers while showering or undressing, according to a source who has spoken to one of the alleged victims, according to Navy Times, which first reported this story.
A Navy spokeswoman has said further service comments were unavailable, citing an ongoing investigation.
"If the allegations prove to be factual, the Navy will ensure the individuals involved are held accountable for their actions," said Lt. Leslie Hubbell, a spokeswoman for Submarine Group Ten, in a written statement.
Navy women began submarine training about four years ago and the service has been preparing to further integrate them on Virginia-class attack submarines. In addition, the Navy has been preparing to integrate enlisted women into submarine ranks as well.
The USS Wyoming, in service since 1996, is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine home ported at Kings Bay, Georgia. An Ohio-class submarine has about 140 enlisted sailors and approximately 15 officers. The Wyoming was one of the first submarines to bring women on board in 2011, adding female supply officers to the crew.
-- Kris Osborn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org