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"It has the potential to destroy unit cohesion, hurts the victim, and is destructive."With the implementation of Article 117a, there is now a clearer way to bring offenders to justice," Thoman said."It seems that Congress wanted to make sure that this type of behavior was unmistakably not acceptable.Criminalizing the conduct sent just that message," Thoman said.While Soldier B is temporarily upbeat about thinking of such an easy way to get back at Soldier A, in all likelihood, Soldier B has just committed a federal crime, Thoman said.According to Thoman, the legal analysis to get to a federal conviction is now more straightforward for that case.
The term "broadcast," for instance, means to "electronically transmit a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons." The term "sexually explicit conduct" is defined to include "actual or simulated genital-genital contact, oral-genital contact, anal-genital contact, or oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, bestiality, masturbation, or sadistic or masochistic abuse." Other terms defined include "distribute," "intimate visual image," "reasonable expectation of privacy," and "visual image." A NECESSARY CHANGE According to Thoman, there was a limit to the actions the U. military legal system could take against a service member prior to inclusion of Article 117a in the UCMJ.Military Law Center will aggressively advise and defend you – Know Your Military Legal Rights.In fact, under Article 134 of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), a military court has the discretion to punish any actions that bring discredit to the Armed Forces or could be considered disorderly conduct.With the passing of the 2018 NDAA, those who distribute the kinds of images that were part of the "Marines United" scandal are now on notice that they could be found "guilty of wrongful distribution of intimate visual images or visual images of sexually explicit conduct and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct." MORE CLARITY Article 117a, now part of the UCMJ, goes to great lengths to clarify what constitutes wrongdoing, and defines specific terminology, Thoman said.According to the article, the accused should know that the person depicted in the image retains a reasonable expectation of privacy.