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9 punished in Secret Service scandal

WASHINGTON -- A dozen U.S. service members brought women, likely prostitutes, to their hotel rooms in Colombia and also allowed dogs to soil bed linens and building grounds shortly before President Barack Obama arrived in the country for an April summit, according to a military investigation that followed the announcement of punishments for the men.

The report provided to The Associated Press on Friday revealed new details about the conduct of the service members in the prostitution scandal that engulfed both military and Secret Service personnel.

Seven Army soldiers and two Marines have received administrative punishments for what the report described as misconduct consisting "almost exclusively of patronizing prostitutes and adultery." Three of the service members have requested courts martial.

One Air Force member was reprimanded but cleared of any violations of the U.S. military code of justice, and final decisions are pending for two Navy sailors.

According to the report, the problems involving the servicemen came to light when hotel staff complained to U.S. officials that military members had female guests in their rooms after 6 a.m., a violation of hotel policy. They also complained that dog handlers allowed their dogs to sleep in beds, soil hotel linens and soil other public areas around the building. The wider scandal involving the Secret Service erupted after a public dispute over payment between an agent and a prostitute at a Cartagena hotel.

The military report concluded that "the combination of unstructured free time, the prevalence of legalized prostitution and military members' individual choice to commit misconduct" were the primary causes of the transgressions. It also found that there was no evidence that the interaction with prostitutes presented any risk to national security, and that no sensitive materials were compromised.

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