The military personnel involved in the Secret Service’s prostitution scandal in Colombia will not face criminal charges, but will receive administrative punishment instead, the Associated Press reported.
Of the 12 military personnel who were under investigation by the U.S. Southern Command, seven Army soldiers and two Marines were placed on administrative leave. The fate of the Air Force member and Navy sailors was yet to be determined. Military sources told AP that because the personnel were in a command area, they will receive equal punishment, regardless of service branch.
The scandal was exposed in April, when Secret Service agents and supporting military personnel were found to be soliciting prostitutes while on assignment, prior to the 9th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. The personnel were assigned to President Obama’s security detail and were alleged to have brought the prostitutes into the hotel prior to his arrival. A dispute over payment to the escorts escalated to front page news, leading to the fallout seen today.
Even though prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, the Secret Service immediately revoked the Top Secret clearance of several of the agents for violating the agency’s ethical standards.
AP reported that of the military personnel given administrative punishments, three were looking to bring the case to courts martial to contest the decision in a public trial.
Administrative punishments, also known as nonjudicial punishments, vary in severity and length. The military does not typically disclose the final outcome, but in most cases, it ranges from having pay docked to being assigned certain duty functions longer. In some instances, written reprimands are placed in the service member’s file.