SANTIAGO – Seamen and non-commissioned officers serving aboard a navy frigate are facing court martial for planting hidden cameras in the quarters of their female shipmates and sharing the images online, the Chilean military said on Thursday.
Five men are accused of installing the cameras and sharing the images via WhatsApp and other social networks, while the other three are charged with failing to report the misconduct when they became aware of it.
The cameras captured images of six female sailors and NCOs aboard the Almirante Lynch wearing only their underwear or nothing at all.
Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, denounced the behavior of the men as “unacceptable.”
“Let us end all forms of violence against women,” she wrote on Twitter.
Defense Minister Jose Antonio Gomez said during a press conference that he was determined to ensure events such as those aboard the Almirante Lynch would not be repeated.
“We have made a great effort to integrate women into the armed forces and we will be implacable in seeking punishment if the actions are proven,” he said.
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison and the certainty of a dishonorable discharge from the military, the minister said.
The scheme was exposed when another member of the Lynch’s crew discovered the spying and reported it to his superiors, navy chief spokesman Leonardo Chavez told Radio Cooperativa.
The victims of the spying were offered the chance for reassignment to another vessel, “but they decided to remain aboard (the Lynch), because obviously they understand it’s an isolated thing and they have the entire support of the rest of their shipmates, as is fitting,” Chavez said.