Five U.S. military accused of misconduct in Colombia

WASHINGTON Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:09pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five members of the U.S. military assigned to support the Secret Service during President Barack Obama's visit to Colombia violated curfew and may have been involved in "inappropriate conduct," the U.S. Southern Command said on Saturday.

One day after the U.S. Secret Service said it had sent some agents home from Cartagena for allegations of misconduct - which Colombian police said involved prostitutes - the Southern Command said it was punishing military members involved in "inappropriate conduct" at the same hotel in which the agents had stayed.

Unlike the Secret Service personnel, the military members are still in Colombia but are confined to their quarters and not allowed to have contact with anyone, the statement said. They will return to the United States with the rest of the support group after the Summit of the Americas.

General Douglas Fraser, commander of the Southern Command, said he was "disappointed by the entire incident and (said) that this behavior is not in keeping with the professional standards expected of members of the United States military."

Fraser said a thorough investigation and punishment if appropriate will take place in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

A policeman in Cartagena said at least one member of the Secret Service tried to take a prostitute up to a hotel room without registering her.

The U.S. government said only that some Secret Service agents were sent home but gave no details of the misconduct.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles and Caren Bohan; editing by Todd Eastham)

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