Army rocked by explicit email scandal
Several army officers have been suspended and more are being investigated by Defence and NSW Police over an email scandal that Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison has described as "worse than the Skype scandal".
General Morrison announced the investigation at a press conference in Canberra revealing three personnel had been suspended after circulating "inappropriate emails and imagery" of women.
He said the allegations involve the production and distribution of "highly inappropriate" material, and that there were also suggestions illicit drug use may be involved.
A further five officers are being considered for suspension and nine others are being investigated. Those who have already been suspended are also persons of interests for NSW Police, General Morrison revealed.
A further 90 Australian Defence Force personnel may have been involved on the periphery of the exchanged that General Morrison described as "explicit and profane".
"I'm appalled at this situation," he said.
"The imagery, as is the text is explicit, derogatory, demeaning, and is repugnant."
The incidents date back to 2010 and were brought to the ADF's attention in April.
General Morrison described the scandal as a "very low point" in his career.
He compared it to the Skype video scandal that rocked Defence in 2011 which involved an officer covertly filming a female servicewoman having sex and broadcast the vision to colleagues via Skype.
"I'd say this is worse than the Skype scandal," he said.
General Morrison stated he was unable to reveal further details of the emails chain that was under investigation.
He confirmed he had spoken to women who were the victims of the emails and imagery and apologised to them on behalf of the Australian Army.
The women were "angry" and "concerned" the Army chief said, but had indicated that they felt support had been provided to them that was appropriate to the circumstances.
It is understood that the victims include ADF personnel and members of the broader public.