The Navy has launched an investigation into the discovery last month of a hidden camera in the women’s bathroom aboard the USS Arlington, three military officials told NBC News.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is conducting the probe, a Navy spokesperson confirmed to NBC, which broke the story Friday. A Marine discovered the recording device on the amphibious transport dock, an official told the news organization, though the official did not specify whether 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,” Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a spokesman for the 6th Fleet, said in a statement to NBC. “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 Navy did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post. NCIS said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.
The USS Arlington is based in Norfolk. It deployed in December with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and is docked in Greece, Stars and Stripes reported. 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 are pervasive issues in the military, and a recent Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department found that of all the service branches, service members 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 did not 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 submarine USS Wyoming spent 10 months filming female crew members in the shower changing room and shared the videos with one another.