Three Marine NCOs from South Carolina’s Parris Island training depot have been charged and referred to a special court-martial, with a fourth Marine receiving an Article 32 hearing in reference to allegations of abuse.
According to Marine Corps Times, the Marine Corps Training and Education Command announced the following Parris Island Marines have been charged with UCMJ violations:
- Staff Sgt. Matthew T. Bacchus has been charged with maltreatment, violation of a lawful order and making a false official statement.
- Staff Sgt. Jose Lucena-Martinez has been charged with failure to obey a lawful general order and making a false official statement.
- Sgt. Riley R. Gress has been charged with maltreatment, failure to obey a lawful order and making a false official statement.
The Marines face punishment up to one year in the brig if convicted, and will face a special courts-martial.
A third Marine -identified only as a Staff Sergeant- is facing an Article 32 hearing, which will review the evidence and determine if a court-martial is necessary.
None of the allegations are connected to the March 18th suicide of Muslim Marine recruit Raheel Siddiqui, who jumped to his death after he was bullied by a drill instructor.
Siddiqui’s death launched a rash of investigations into hazing issues at Parris Island, and up to 20 Marines could be charged for allegations of abuse against Siddiqui and other Marines.
TECOM commander Major General James Lukeman has taken the allegations seriously.
“As proceedings move forward, we will continue to maintain the integrity of the legal process while remaining transparent,” Lukeman said in a statement Tuesday. “The Marine Corps Recruit Depots Parris Island and San Diego transform the best of our nation’s young men and women into U.S. Marines. The safety of our recruits and the integrity of the Marine Corps recruit training program remain our priority.”
Siddiqui isn’t the only Muslim recruit who was hazed- another was forced to exercise in the shower and get into a dryer that was later turned on. One drill instructor asked if the recruit took part in the 9/11 attacks.
Marine Commandant Robert Neller said in September that the majority of drill instructors are by-the-book leaders who shape Marines according to their training.
“Recruit training is designed to be tough and demanding,” Neller said. “That’s why young men and women join the Marine Corps, because they want to be challenged and tested. I have every confidence that the drill instructors that are out there both at Parris Island and San Diego understand that. They are working extremely hard and they’ve very proud of the effort they’ve put forward to take young men and women who are civilians and turning them into basically trained Marines.”