A Marine with more than 20 years of service has been charged in a civilian court with posting intimate pictures of a woman online, officials said.
"We are aware of the alleged charges against Master Sgt. Theophilus Thomas, and are working with NCIS and local authorities to ensure a thorough investigation," said Capt. John Roberts, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Thomas, 38, is an avionics chief, currently assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, N.C. News of Thomas' arrest was first reported by the Jacksonville Daily News.
He is accused of posting one nude photo of the woman and six pictures of her wearing underwear on April 14, according to an arrest warrant, which does not identify the website where the pictures appeared.
Jacksonville police arrested Thomas on April 20 after the woman told authorities about the pictures, said police spokeswoman Beth Purcell. The woman had previously been in a relationship with him.
Thomas has been charged with felony disclosure of private images, and his preliminary hearing is slated for May 11, officials said. He is currently free on $20,000 of unsecured bail.
The avionics chief joined the Marine Corps in July 1996 and became a master sergeant in June, according to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. His awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, six good conduct ribbons and five sea service deployment ribbons.
The case is separate from the ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation of service members and veterans who allegedly posted nude pictures of women, and later harassed them, on the Marines United Facebook group.
Investigators have identified 14 active-duty Marines and one active-duty sailor who may have been involved in "some type of criminal activity" by posting nude pictures, NCIS Director Andrew Traver told reporters on April 7.
No charges have been filed so far in connection with the investigation, NCIS spokesman Ed Buice said on Wednesday.
In the wake of the Marines United scandal, acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley has made it possible for sailors and Marines to be charged under military law for sharing intimate pictures of service members without their consent. Violators can be charged with failing to obey an order or regulation under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.