Bloomberg News

No Courts-Martial for 9 in Colombia Prostitution Episode

July 18, 2012

Nine U.S. military service members will receive non-judicial punishments instead of facing court- martial proceedings for their involvement in a prostitution incident in Columbia in April.

The cases of two other service members remain under legal review, Lieutenant Colonel D.L. Wright, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command in Miami, said today in an interview. The 12th military member involved in the incident was reprimanded, while cleared of violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Wright said.

The service members, who represent all branches of the military, accompanied 11 Secret Service agents to the resort city of Cartagena, Columbia, to prepare for President Barack Obama’s arrival at the Summit of the Americas.

The summit was overshadowed by allegations of misconduct among the U.S. personnel. The incident was sparked when a Cartagena prostitute refused to leave the hotel room occupied by the Secret Service until she was paid, according to Representative Peter King, a New York Republican who was briefed on the incident in April.

The names of the service members involved and their specific punishments haven’t been released, Wright said. Examples of typical non-judicial punishments include a reduction in rank and a forfeiture of pay.

“If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry,” Obama said in April when news of the allegations first broke. “We’re representing the people of the United States. And when we travel to another country, I expect us to observe the highest standards.”

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net


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