By Katie Mettler / The Washington Post
The U.S. Navy has launched an investigation into the discovery of a hidden camera in the women’s bathroom aboard the USS Arlington last month, three military officials told NBC News.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is conducting the probe, a Navy spokesperson confirmed to NBC, which broke the story Friday. A female Marine discovered the recording device in March, an official told the news organization, though the official did not specify if the camera took stills or videos.
“The command has taken, and will continue to take, all necessary actions to ensure the safety and privacy of the victim,” Cdr. Kyle Raines told NBC News in a statement. “The Navy/Marine Corps team takes all reports of sexual harassment seriously, and are committed to thoroughly investigating these allegations and providing resources and care to victims of sexual harassment.”
The U.S. Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. The NCIS said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.
The USS Arlington is a transport dock ship based in Norfolk, Virginia. It deployed in December with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and is currently docked in Greece, reported the Stars and Stripes. It is on a seven-month deployment to Europe and the Middle East.
“To protect the legal rights and the privacy of all involved, we cannot release details, names or any other identifying information at this time,” Raines said in the statement.
Sexual harassment, assault and misconduct is a pervasive issue in the military, and a recent Rand Corp study commissioned by the Department of Defense found that of all four branches, those at Navy installations are at greatest risk for sexual assault. Women have a more than 15 percent risk of sexual assault, according to the report, and men a 1.5 percent risk.
Though the study didn’t answer why the Navy’s numbers were higher than others, it did acknowledge that the correlation between ships and sexual assault was “the clearest pattern of high risk” they recognized.
“Ships dominate the highest-risk installations,” the report said. “Our model estimates that more than 10 percent of all women experienced a sexual assault at each of these high-risk installations over a one-year period, and more than 15 percent of all women were assaulted at two of them.”
In 2015, a report revealed that sailors aboard the ballistic missile sub Wyoming spent 10 months filming their female midshipmen in the shower changing room and then sharing the videos with one another.