Marine Leaders Pull Out of House Hearing

The U.S. Marine Corps leadership has withdrawn from a House hearing on the nude-photo scandal, according to Rep. Jackie Speier’s office.

Marine Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller or his deputy were scheduled to testify Wednesday about the scandal alongside both active duty and veteran female Marines. The Marine Corps planned to update the bipartisan Caucus for Women’s Issues on the investigation and potential changes in military social media and sexual conduct policies.

Instead, Neller’s assistant wrote in a letter to Rep. Speier’s office offering to meet members of the Women’s Caucus individually. The letter also said the Corps will commit resources and support for victims of scandal, and tighten accountability, enforcement, and reporting within the chain of command. Also the Corps said it will update how it educates Marines in basic training about male-female relations and social media responsibility.

Neller’s spokesman, Lt. Col. Eric Dent, said it’s “false” to say Neller or the assistant commandant withdrew from the hearing. “I believe it is true that Rep. Speier (or the Democratic Working Women’s group) invited the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, but I do not believe he ever agreed to attend this working group’s session,” Dent said.

The Daily Beast’s James LaPorta is slated to testify alongside Lance Cpl. Marisa Woytek, an active duty Marine and survivor of Marines United; Erika Butner, a Marine Corps veteran and survivor of Marines United; Miranda Petersen, Executive Director, Protect our Defenders; Dr. Elizabeth L. Hillman, President of Mills College.

—James LaPorta