Local woman becomes alleged victim of Marine Corps nude photo scandal

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — It's a photo scandal shaking a branch of the military to its core. More than two dozen female Marines and civilians have come forward saying naked photos of them were shared on a secret Facebook page called 'Marines United.'

That page has since been deleted, but the incident is currently under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

One of the alleged victims, Kelsie Stone, is a West Michigan native currently living in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Stone was too emotionally distraught to speak with FOX 17 on Thursday, but we spoke with her mother, Petra McGinnis, in Battle Creek.

McGinnis says Stone moved to South Carolina a few years ago from Battle Creek, where she met her boyfriend at the time, a Sergeant in the Marine Corps. While he was away training in California, she sent him lewd photos on SnapChat in private, thinking they would never resurface. Just a few months later, her life would be turned upside.

McGinnis says her 25-year old daughter had no idea her former boyfriend saved and shared screenshots of the photos she had sent him while they were together. The pair eventually broke up, but a few months later on Valentine's Day a friend of Kelsie's, who's also a Marine, told her he saw photos of her posted in a secret Facebook group called 'Marines United.'

"Kelsie is a bartender at a local tavern down there," said McGinnis. "Living in a military town, she knows a lot of military members. One of her friends is a Marine and this individual contacted Kelsie on Valentine's Day and said, 'Hey, do you realize that there are some pictures of you on this Facebook group and they're inappropriate pictures?' Kelsie asked him to send some screenshots of it and he did. Sure enough, there were pictures she had sent to her ex while he was training in California."

Since the photos were shared, McGinnis says her daughter has been harassed both on social media and in person. She says men have even approached her at the local tavern where she works.

"She's been called a whore too many times to even count," said McGinnis. "She's pretty much secluded herself now because everybody knows about it and knows that she is a part of this. He put the pictures on there to make her a target. He made her a target because it wasn't long after that that Kelsie started getting comments, people coming into her work. Kelsie said at one point it got so bad that she didn't even want to get out of her car to pump gas."

Stone's father is a retired Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps. McGinnis says this is not the Corps her daughter was raised to know.

"They were raised with this male figure who is a Marine who they very rarely heard curse, they never saw him be disrespectful, they saw him take care of business and take care of his home," said McGinnis. "This is the image of Marines they have in their head. This is the image Kelsie has in her head of how a Marine should be, especially a non-commissioned officer. Honor and integrity is what the girls were raised with. This has her rethinking the way she views the world."

Stone is just one of many alleged victims whose photos were posted on that Facebook page. In fact, on Wednesday, famed attorney Gloria Allred announced a lawsuit on behalf of two female Marines whose photos were shared without consent.

"This is a stain on their conduct as United States Marines, currently serving or former Marines," said Allred.

While that Facebook page and those Marines allegedly behind it remain under investigation, McGinnis hopes the man who shared Stone's photos will be dishonorably discharged.

"I don't see how he can remain in the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps keep its integrity, or any of the guys who have done this," said McGinnis.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert Neller released a video message on Tuesday aimed at the Marines involved in the incident. Neller says this behavior is not that of true warriors or war fighters and asks those involved to ask themselves if they really want to be Marines.

"We are all in 24/7 and if that commitment to your excellence interferes with your 'me time' or if you can't or are unwilling to commit to contributing 100 percent to our Corps' war fighting ability by being a good teammate and improving cohesion and trust, then I have to ask you: Do you really want to be a Marine?" said General Neller.

While McGinnis says she's happy to hear the Marine Corps is addressing the issue, she wants to see action.

"I believe [Neller] because it would almost be a sin not to believe the Commandant of the Marine Corps, but right now I'm tired of words," said McGinnis. "I want some actions. Show me that this is what you're going to do and then I'll fully believe you."

McGinnis hopes this incident sends a message to everyone to think twice before sharing inappropriate photos. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is handling the investigation and they're working to see if felony charges are warranted. Any military members found to have posted the pictures without consent could be facing some time behind bars.

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6 comments

  • Commonsense

    Hmmmmmm, sending naked photos over social media, are you just too clueless to figure this out? Sorry Honey, nobody to blame here but yourself.. You and only You made the decision to put yourself quite literally out on the world wide web. Don’t blame anyone else for your bad choice and lack of thought process.

  • Bud

    You should expect EVERYTHING you send electronically over the internet to be in the public domain. Kids today have absolutely NO privacy, given the amount of information they post on the internet.

  • PAUL

    let this be a lesson to all women out there , nothing is forever….. some things are best kept in private…. and the internet doesnt just go away.. think before you act