Military.com

Former Parris Island Drill Instructor Pleads Guilty to Hazing Charge

The title Marine and the coveted Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem is earned only by those who are imbued with the Corps’ core values. (Photo by Cpl. Vanessa Austin)
The title Marine and the coveted Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem is earned only by those who are imbued with the Corps’ core values. (Photo by Cpl. Vanessa Austin)

A Marine Corps drill instructor accused of hazing and mistreating recruits aboard Parris Island, South Carolina, has pleaded guilty at a summary court-martial, officials with Marine Corps Training and Education Command said.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Bacchus pleaded guilty to violation of a lawful general order and maltreatment, but not guilty to false official statement at the Wednesday hearing, TECOM spokesman Capt. Joshua Pena told Military.com. He was convicted only of the charges he pled to.

Bacchus was sentenced only to 60 days' restriction, Pena said. He will not, however, lose rank or be forced out of the Corps.

He is the second of six drill instructors to face court-martial on charges related to two separate investigations of hazing within Parris Island's 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. The outcome of his trial was first reported Friday by Marine Corps Times.

On May 25, Sgt. Riley Gress was acquitted at a special court-martial on charges of violation of a lawful general order, cruelty and maltreatment, and false official statement.

Both Bacchus and Gress' charges were in relation with a 50-page investigation that described recruits being forced to conduct physical training in "the Dungeon," a dusty and airless abandoned squad bay. It also contained accounts of recruits being forced to fight each other while drill instructors watched, and multiple episodes in which recruits were called profane names and humiliated.

Two more drill instructors have yet to face trial on charges related to that investigation: Staff Sgts. Jose Lucena-Martinez and Antonio Burke.

Another two drill instructors are set to be tried in connection with an unrelated incident in which a Muslim recruit was allegedly thrown into a dryer and interrogated. Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix and Staff Sgt. Michael Eldridge will face courts-martial at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for alleged involvement with that incident.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

Show Full Article

Related Topics

Marine Corps Crime Hazing