At least 12 mid-ranking enlisted crewmen are now implicated in an investigation over secret cellphone videos of female officers showering and dressing aboard the ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming, according to documents obtained by Navy Times.
News of the incident, the first such large-scale lechery allegation since women were cleared for submarine service three years ago, broke in early December. But the extent of the alleged cyber-peeping tom case is only emerging now. "Three or four" women, all officers, were apparently shown undressed in seven separate videos recovered by authorities, the Times reports:
12 male sailors are suspected of viewing the videos taken from August to November 2013 and March to June 2014. The videos were first reported to the command in mid-November.
Submarine Force Atlantic confirmed the second incident report, but a spokesman declined to elaborate about the command report's findings.
All of those implicated are petty officers, most of whom had seen or known about the videos but did not report it, said a senior Navy official familiar with the investigation. The official emphasized that only one sailor, a second class petty officer, is believed to have recorded and distributed them using a smart phone.
"This was not 11 guys, each with different" cameras, said the source. "It was really one guy doing the videography piece and then sharing it with other people."
The logistics of life aboard a sub were already complicated before the silent service began integrating women in earnest in 2011. The Times describes how men and women, for now, share the restrooms ("heads," to salty sea dogs) on the Navy's largest boomer subs:
A ballistic missile sub typically has 15 officers and 140 enlisted on board, with unisex showers in "officer country." When a woman is using the shower, for example, she puts up a sign to indicate the head is in use by a female officer and men must wait to enter until it's unoccupied.
It's possible that the cameras caught both men and women showering, but the final incident report only cites women as victims.
Women are slated to join the crews of the Navy's smaller fast-attack subs next year, in similar fashion to the way they integrated on ballistic-missile boats: a few officers at first, then more enlisted sailors later.
[Photo credit: AP Images]