As many as a dozen U.S. service members brought women, likely prostitutes, to their hotel rooms in Colombia and also allowed dogs to soil bed linens and building grounds shortly before President Barack Obama arrived in the country for an April summit, according to a military investigation.
The report provided to The Associated Press on Friday revealed new details about the conduct of the service members during the prostitution scandal that engulfed both military and Secret Service personnel.
Seven Army soldiers and two Marines have received administrative punishments for what the report called misconduct consisting "almost exclusively of patronizing prostitutes and adultery." Three of the service members have requested courts martial, which would give them a public trial to contest the punishments.
According to the investigator's report, the problems came to light when hotel staff complained to U.S. officials that military members had female guests in their rooms after 6 a.m., a violation of hotel policy. They also complained that dog handlers allowed their dogs to sleep in beds, soil hotel linens and also soil other public areas around the building.
The report concluded that "the combination of unstructured free time, the prevalence of legalized prostitution and military members' individual choice to commit misconduct," were the primary causes of the bad behavior. It also found that there was no evidence that the interaction with prostitutes presented any risk to national security, and that no sensitive materials were compromised.
Prostitution is legal in Colombia but is a violation of the U.S. military code of justice. Hotels in Cartagena require that any guests, including prostitutes, must be signed in, must pay a guest fee and must leave by 6 a.m.
U.S. Southern Command, headed by Gen. Douglas Fraser, conducted the investigation into the military members' involvement in the April incident, which brought shame to the elite presidential protection force and unearthed revelations of other episodes of misconduct within the Secret Service.
A dozen Secret Service officers, agents and supervisors were implicated in the Colombia scandal. Eight have been forced out of the agency, three were cleared of serious misconduct and at least two employees are fighting to get their jobs back.
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