Army internet sex ring busted

Officers swapped derogatory and explicit images of sexual conquests

The Australian officers filmed women in sex acts without their knowledge and shared the images with "ratings". Photo / Thinkstock
The Australian officers filmed women in sex acts without their knowledge and shared the images with "ratings". Photo / Thinkstock

A group of Australian army officers in an internet sex scandal circulated videos and photos of naked women, challenging "Jedi Council" members to try to bed them too.

Emails sometimes included the victims' names, addresses and phone numbers so other members had the chance to try to "have sex with them", Australian newspapers reported.

Fairfax Media reported the ring included elite special forces soldiers and some civilians.

After the unsuspecting women were picked up in places such as airport lounges and bars, the men filmed them in sexual acts, sometimes without their knowledge.

The shared images were often embellished with the men's derogatory comments about their conquests. Demeaning commentary included details such as the size and shape of the woman's breasts and a rating of the sexual experience.

On Thursday, Australia's Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison, announced three of the ringleaders had been stood down and a further 14 Defence Force personnel were under investigation in relation to a group of "demeaning, explicit and profane" emails that began in 2010.

Of the 17 who formed the core of the sex ring, the most senior was reported to be a lieutenant-colonel.

Often the material was sent using Defence Force email systems.

General Morrison won plaudits for a steely YouTube video in which he warned that soldiers who did not appreciate the role of women in the force should "get out" of the army.

"If you're not up to it, find something else to do with your life. There is no place for you among this band of brothers and sisters."

The Defence Force investigated the allegations for nine months before asking the New South Wales police to take over in June last year.

General Morrison described the internet ring's activities as worse than the Skype scandal in 2011, when a defence force cadet was caught broadcasting himself having sex with a female cadet over Skype without her knowledge or consent.

A police spokesman said Kings Cross Local Area Command established Strike Force Civet in July last year to investigate the alleged exchange of offensive emails by Defence Force personnel.

A brief had been sent to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who was assessing it.

Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James said the actions of the men involved did not reflect the broader military.

"They were calling themselves the Jedi Council, but they were doing the exact opposite of what Jedis are supposed to do, thinking they were above normal ethical standards."

- Herald on Sunday

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