Conflict & Justice

Military prostitution scandal in Colombia widens


Prostitutes sit at an outdoor table February 21, 2001 in Peas Coloradas, Colombia.

Service members reportedly took prostitutes back to their hotel in Colombia shortly before President Obama arrived for a summit in Cartagena in April, according to a new military investigation into the scandal which also involved members of the Secret Service. 

According to the report, which was obtained by the Associated Press on Friday, as many as 12 military members had women in their rooms after 6 a.m., a violation of the hotel's policy. 

The service members also allegedly allowed dogs to soil their beds and other areas of the hotel, the AP reported. 

The administration has punished seven Army soldiers for misconduct consisting “almost exclusively of patronizing prostitutes and adultery," as the report called it. Three of the service members have requested public trials so that they can contest their punishments, the AP reported. 

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The investigation blamed “the combination of unstructured free time, the prevalence of legalized prostitution and military members’ individual choice to commit misconduct" for allowing the service members' questionable behavior. 

The latest report is just part of a widening scandal surrounding the behavior of US military and Secret Service members during several missions to Central and South America: Secret Service agents also reportedly visited a strip club in El Salvador in March 2011, CBS News reported back in April

Three Secret Service agents left their posts in April over the scandal. When news surfaced, President Obama said in a statement that he would be "angry" if the the allegations were true, Fox News reported. He said US government and military personel, just like anyone else, must "observe the highest standards" while abroad. 
"We're here on behalf of our people and that means that we conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and probity. And obviously what's been reported doesn't match up with those standards," The President said in April. 

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