Sex video scan­dal rocks Oz mil­i­tary

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

SYD­NEY: The Aus­tralian mil­i­tary has sacked six male of­fi­cers over their role in the so­called “Jedi Coun­cil”, a group which al­legedly pro­duced and shared videos of them­selves hav­ing sex with women.

The Aus­tralian De­fence Force said six of­fi­cers and non­com­mis­sioned of­fi­cers had been fired over the pro­duc­tion or dis­tri­bu­tion of “highly in­ap­pro­pri­ate ma­te­rial de­mean­ing women” on de­fence com­put­ers and the in­ter­net.

“The stan­dard of be­hav­iour we ex­pect of our serv­ing mem­bers is clear,” chief of army Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral David Mor­ri­son said yes­ter­day.

“It is also clear that if you en­gage in mis­con­duct, or you fail to up­hold the army’s stan­dards, then you will be held to ac­count.”

Re­ports in June al­leged the of­fi­cers had filmed them­selves hav­ing sex with women, in­clud­ing col­leagues and civil­ians, and dis­trib­uted the im­ages to mil­i­tary per­son­nel around the coun­try with­out the women’s knowl­edge.

The rev­e­la­tions, which fol­lowed a gov­ern­ment re­port de­tail­ing more than 1 000 claims of sex­ual or other abuse in the forces from the 1950s to the present day, prompted Mor­ri­son to tell troops to re­spect women or quit the mil­i­tary.

“I will be ruth­less in rid­ding the army of peo­ple who can­not live up to its val­ues,” he had said at the time.

The six men sacked ranged in rank from sergeant to ma­jor and three of them have been in­ves­ti­gated by New South Wales po­lice. A fur­ther seven also face ter­mi­na­tion while four are sub­ject to ad­min­is­tra­tive sanc­tions. Dis­ci­plinary or

‘Jedi of­fi­cers dis­trib­uted video

ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion were also be­ing con­sid­ered against a fur­ther 172 peo­ple, mainly army per­son­nel, who were iden­ti­fied as pe­riph­eral to the group’s e- mail ex­changes, de­fence said.

Mor­ri­son said a to­tal of 122 reg­u­lar army and re­servists had had their ser­vice ter­mi­nated so far this year due to se­ri­ous mis­con­duct or un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour, tak­ing drugs and civil­ian of­fences.

The Aus­tralian De­fence Force has been hit by a se­ries of sex scan­dals, in­clud­ing the 2011 Skype in­ci­dent in which a young male re­cruit had sex with a fe­male class­mate and streamed the en­counter online to cadets in another room with­out her knowl­edge.

Last week the male cadet of­fi­cer at the cen­tre of that in­ci­dent was kicked out of the army fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion in court. – Sapa-AFP

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