Sex scandal rocks Australian armed forces
Published 06/04/2011 | 11:14
Australia's defence force has been rocked by fresh scandal after a young woman accused a fellow cadet of secretly filming a sexual encounter between the pair and broadcasting it to his friends.
The 18-year-old woman told Australia's Ten Network she had consensual sex with a fellow first-year cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy, but said the man secretly filmed the encounter and transmitted it via Skype to six other military students.
The woman, whose identity has not been released, said she had no idea she had been filmed until defence officials told her. Photos of the encounter were also circulated around the academy, she said. "It was like my whole world came crashing down around me," the woman said. "They had to read the statements that the boys had to make and I actually threw up."
Defence minister Stephen Smith said federal police and the defence department are investigating.
The scandal comes at a delicate time for the defence force, which was heavily criticised last month after racist, expletive-laden comments made by Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan were aired on social and broadcast media.
Mr Smith said the woman's case was being taken very seriously, and urged defence personnel to treat her with "civility and dignity".
"In those circumstances, I can't think of a greater betrayal of trust of a colleague in the workplace than the suggestions that have been made," Mr Smith told reporters.
"Once that trust is destroyed, then it is very difficult, if not impossible, for the person who has broken that trust to remain a defence force personnel member."
Prime Minister Julia Gillard also addressed the allegations, saying female defence force members deserve to be treated with dignity.
"I want them (women) respected in every sense of the word," Ms Gillard told reporters in Brisbane. "We ask the people of our defence force to do remarkable things for this nation. They shouldn't have their trust abused or their dignity stripped away from them."