Ex-U.S. Marine Officer Sentenced to 33 Months for Sending Revenge Porn of Young Woman to Her Parents

MarineOCS
U.S. Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, gives the oath of office to the candidates of Officer Candidate School during a graduation and commissioning ceremony on Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, on August 11, 2018. Vincent G. Provines, an ex-U.S. Marine reserve officer was sentenced to almost three years in prison on felony cyberstalking charges. Lance Cpl. Alexander Cockrell

It was almost two years ago when congressional members on Capitol Hill first learned about the fear "Kate" was living in. They read about her psychological torment and abuse, her daily anxiety and sleepless nights—all at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, a U.S. Marine officer, who had emailed nude photographs of her to her parents.

Now, the fear is gone.

U.S. District Court Judge Marcia A. Crone sentenced Vincent G. Provines, 24, an ex-U.S. Marine reserve officer to almost three years in prison last week on felony cyberstalking charges for his offenses against Kate, a 23-year-old civilian from Dallas, Texas, and her parents. Newsweek is withholding their names to protect their privacy.

Provines will be required to attend mental health treatment while imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, a medium-security prison for male inmates.

Upon release, he will face two years of probation, wherein he is prevented from purchasing, possessing or having contact with any electronic device that connects to the internet, according to court documents reviewed by Newsweek. The court has not yet ruled on whether to fine Provines up to $250,000 for his crime.

Ex-U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Cesaria "Cecy" Marquez, 25, Provines's wife, admitted to participating in the cyberstalking and took a plea deal in late June. Marquez's attorney, James Whalen, told Newsweek last year that his client did not want to comment, but added that she agreed to five years' probation. The couple was in divorce litigation as of 2018.

Marquez-and-Provines
Ex-U.S. Marines Vincent G. Provines and Cesaria “Cecy” Marquez were charged with cyberstalking after sending revenge porn to the parents of a young woman who used to date Provines. Courtesy photograph

It was two years ago when Kate's story first came to light, after she overcame her fear and reached out to this reporter during the height of the Marines United nude photo scandal that rocked the entire Department of Defense. The online misconduct involved a series of secret Facebook chatrooms made up of current and former U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy Corpsman who were sharing thousands of nude photographs of unsuspecting fellow female service members and other women. Revealfirst reported the news.

The scandal sparked national outrage, Senate congressional hearings that issued severe tongue lashings to senior Pentagon officials and new changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the legal code that governs the armed forces.

"The recently signed Prohibited Activities and Conduct order reaffirms the Marine Corps' longstanding and enduring commitment to maintaining a culture of dignity, respect and trust in which all Marines are afforded equal opportunity to achieve their full potential based solely upon individual merit, fitness, intellect, and ability," said U.S. Marine Major Brian Block in an email to Newsweek.

To date, 198 U.S. Marines and 23 non-Defense Department civilians have been subjects or persons of interest in cases involving online misconduct, resulting in 131 completed dispositions, according to the latest data from the U.S. Marine Corps.

Among the cases, 20 have faced court-martial, 57 received either nonjudicial punishments or adverse administrative actions, while eight individuals were separated from military service. Forty-six received no formal adverse action, and 67 Marines are pending dispositions.

"It is every Marine and sailor's duty and responsibility to take a proactive role in fighting behavior that violates our core values, online and off. Marines should also be aware that their online behavior is inseparable from the rest of their lives, and that what they do on the internet may have very real consequences elsewhere," said Block.

But back in March 2017, Kate feared her photos were among the multiple shared drives uncovered by investigative freelance journalist Rory Laverty and this reporter, while working for The Daily Beast.

"I wasn't a victim of this particular Marines United [scandal], but I've had two different Marines threatening to post photos of me on the Internet," Kate wrote this reporter in 2017. "They've already sent them to my parents, and they're receiving constant harassment and threats. I just don't really know where to start with getting this to stop."

Kate had first met Provines while in her freshman year of college at the University of Oklahoma in 2014. The two carpooled to church together, and he was her first real relationship, she wrote in a statement to the Democratic Women's Working Group in April 2017.

The young Marine officer was to be her husband someday, so when he asked for provocative photographs of her, it seemed to be from a place of love and affection.

"I thought, 'This is the person I see myself spending my life with; this is the person I want to marry,' so I rationalized the idea of it and sent them to him against my better judgment," she wrote. "Of course, the relationship later fell apart. I found out he was sneaking out to see ex-girlfriends, had multiple dating apps that he frequently used while we were together, and was uncomfortably close with 'just a friend,' who he started dating the week after we broke up."

She asked him to delete the photographs, but he threatened to send them to people. Later, he said he got rid of them, which turned out not to be true.

Provines married "the friend," Marquez, and two weeks after tying the knot, he contacted Kate for the first time in six months. He said he wanted a threesome.

"I told him to leave me out of his marriage. But he didn't. He contacted me again over two months later. He apologized for how he acted in our relationship, said how I deserved better, that he was sorry, and that he still loved me," Kate wrote to Congress. 'He told me his marriage was failing and that they would not last, and I took the bait. I did what I thought was unthinkable for me. I committed adultery with a married man, and I tried to justify it to myself just because he took off his wedding band."

Between December 16 and December 20, 2016, they had sex twice, and she sent him another nude photo, according to the previous reporting by this journalist in The Daily Beast.

"I'm sorry for what I did, I really am," Kate said in 2017. "I wish I could go back. It was the biggest mistake of my life to do that, and it was wrong of me."

Two weeks later, Kate's parents received a detailed email about the "explicit and extremely derogatory text detailing" the affair. The Marine couple also sent along her naked photographs to her conservative Christian family.

Kate's parents tried to stop the online abuse coming their way, attempting to bargain with Provines and Marquez, saying if they deleted the photographs and promised not to distribute them, then the family would not press charges. But the Marine couple did not stop.

"In the months that followed, I received many long and detailed messages on how I should kill myself, that I am a whore, that I am a slut, that I am worthless, that I am dirty, that I am trash, that I am a waste of existence, that I am a c—t, along with page after page of similar messages and emails which continued for three months," Kate wrote to Congress.

When asked why Kate or her parents did not report Provines or Marquez to law enforcement authorities, Kate's dad said, "[We] had no confidence that law enforcement or reporting him to the Marines would do anything…. But when we heard about the nude-photo scandal, [we] thought maybe the Marines would do something, and I told her that she should report it to NCIS [Naval Criminal Investigative Service]."

Kate said she contacted NCIS, but she said they never returned her call, but after an exclusive story in The Daily Beast detailed the months of torment she and her parents experienced, NCIS launched an investigation. The Marine couple would be drummed out of the corps and brought up on grand jury indictments.

In her closing statement to the Democratic Women's Working Group in Washington, D.C., who met to hear from victims of online misconduct, Kate wrote, "I want to stop living in fear of when the next onslaught of messages or emails will appear, I want my heart not to race every time I get a notification. I'd like to one day manage the panic attacks and nightmares better. I'd like to feel like I'm worthy of having a relationship again one day. I'd like to repent and move on."

Transparency Note: Newsweek staff writer James LaPorta testified at the Democratic Women's Working Group about his and Mr. Laverty's reporting for The Daily Beast on the Marines United scandal. He entered Kate's statement into the record.

Ex-U.S. Marine Officer Sentenced to 33 Months for Sending Revenge Porn of Young Woman to Her Parents | U.S.
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