The U.S. Secret Service has already let go three of the 11 agents caught up in a prostitution scandal that allegedly took place in Cartagena, Colombia, and the U.S. military continues its investigation into the matter. And while prostitution is legal in Colombia, American military personnel accused of picking up prostitutes ahead of President Obama's visit to Colombia may face prosecution under U.S. military law.
The Secret Service didn't identify the agents who were fired but it told the Associated Press on Wednesday that one supervisor was allowed to retire; another will be fired for cause; while the third employee -- not a supervisor -- chose to resign.
Sources told the news organization that the two supervisors were in the Secret Service's uniformed division. The eight other employees are still on administrative leave and their security clearances have been revoked.
CBS News reported that one of the agents forced out plans on suing.
The Secret Service members were sent to Colombia in early April ahead of President Barack Obama's arrival for the Summit of the Americas meeting, to set up security. The agents and at least 10 military service members are accused of hiring prostitutes and engaging in misconduct while in Colombia.
One woman, who identified herself as an escort, told The New York Times that she got into an argument with one of the agents in a room at the Hotel Caribe regarding her price for the previous night's intercourse. The agent allegedly offered her $30 for her services, when they had agreed on an $800 payment. The argument in the hallway escalated, attracting attention from Colombian police officers and American federal agents.
I tell him, 'Baby, my cash money,' the 24-year-old single mother told the Times of the incident.
Republican congressman Peter King, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, told the AP on Thursday that he wouldn't be surprised if there are more dismissals and more being forced out sooner rather than later.
But military service members may face harsher punishment if the investigation shows that they engaged in prostitution. The military's investigation is ongoing and at this time Pentagon officials will not say whether they are sure what the service members did, if anything.
I can't even say if prostitution is involved, Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Department of Defense spokesman, said.
While refusing to address what he called hypotheticals, Breasseale specified that there are three specifications within a prostitution charge under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). They are:
-- Prostitution: This is when the accused has sexual intercourse with another person who is not his or her spouse and is doing so for money or compensation.
-- Patronizing a prostitute: This is when the accused has sex with another person besides his or her spouse, and compels such a person to participate in intercourse for money.
-- Pandering for prostitution (which targets the issue of human trafficking): Deals with the accused enticing someone to engage in sex for hire. (Read more on these charges here.)
Should the investigation find that military members were patronizing a prostitute, they could face a maximum penalty of dishonorable discharge, one year in confinement, and the loss of all pay and benefits.