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West Point sergeant accused of filming naked female cadets without their consent

A West Point sergeant in charge of teaching cadets has been accused of videotaping a dozen female officers without their consent, including times when they were in the shower, according to military officials.

The Army confirmed reports Wednesday it had filed charges against Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClendon under four articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for cruelty and maltreatment, indecent acts, dereliction in the performance of duty and actions prejudicial to good order and discipline.

The charges, filed May 14, come at a time when the U.S. military has come under intense scrutiny for the way it handles sexual harassment and abuse cases.

McClendon, who had been assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point since 2009, was transferred to Fort Drum, N.Y. last week, said Army spokesman George Wright.

According to reports, McClendon allegedly took pictures and videotaped a number of half-naked or fully-naked women between July 2009 and May 2012. It’s unknown how he got access to all of the footage, but in some cases he allegedly entered the women’s bathroom without first announcing his presence and taped them coming in and out of the shower.

According to the West Point website, McClendon was a tactical noncommissioned officer in charge of overseeing 125 cadets. The charges against him come during a rocky time for the military.

In recent weeks, multiple reports of widespread abuse and mistreatment in the armed services have surfaced. Earlier this year, the Army announced it would start integrating women into a number of combat positions. 

According to The New York Times, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was briefed on the McClendon developments Wednesday and described to be “concerned and disturbed” by the allegations.