12 hazing complaints since 2014 confirmed at Marine base

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — Officials at the Marine Corps’ training base in South Carolina say half of 24 hazing complaints investigated since 2014 have been confirmed.

The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/2oKf3TG) that documents obtained through a public records request show the complaints involve all four of Parris Island’s training battalions.

The newspapers have so far received heavily redacted documents from 15 investigations. Depot officials did not specify which 12 of them were substantiated.

One investigation found a “staggering level of misconduct” and recommended three Marines for courts-martial after trainees reported being choked, hit in the face, kicked in the stomach, and slammed into walls by their drill instructors in February 2015.

That case was among five involving the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. That’s the same unit scrutinized following the March 2016 death of Raheel Siddiqui, 20, of Taylor, Michigan, a recruit who fell several stories from a barracks stairwell after an altercation with a drill instructor.

Other allegations of drill instructors hazing recruits ranged from bathroom breaks denied to serious physical assaults. One recruit said a drill instructor vomited on him.

The names of the accused drill instructors, recruits and interviewed witnesses were blacked out in the 15 files supplied to the newspapers. Parris Island officials did not say whether any drill instructors have been disciplined.

But the Marine Corps has previously said that a probe following Siddiqui’s death had identified up to 20 officers, drill instructors and other leaders who face administrative or potential criminal charges for taking part in misconduct or turning a blind eye to it.

The base’s spokesman, Capt. Greg Carroll, said hazing is not widespread among the 60,000 recruits trained at Parris Island over the last three years.

He said steps the base has taken include adding assistant commanders to supervise drill instructors and recruits, and regularly evaluating Marines on their knowledge of the “Recruit Training Order.” It defines hazing as “any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning or harmful,” whether physical or psychological.

The order also says training activities must accomplish a specific goal and can’t be used solely to confuse, disorient or anger recruits.

“Everything we do has to have intent,” said Maj. Steven Allshouse, director of Parris Island’s drill instructor school.

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Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com

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