A Marine recruit committed suicide in March amid a widespread culture of hazing and abuse in his battalion at Parris Island that could lead to punishments for as many as 20 officers and enlisted leaders, the Marine Corps said Thursday.
Some of those 20 commanders and senior enlisted leaders have already been fired, including the three most senior Marines in charge of the recruit’s unit. The Marines also ordered that the rest be temporarily relieved, according to a statement sent to The Associated Press. Their punishments could range from administrative punishments, such as counseling, to the most severe action of military charges and a court-martial.
However, that process could take months, and the leaders would not be identified unless they are formally charged.
The findings are the result of three investigations conducted over the past six months by Maj. Gen. James Lukeman from the service’s training and education command. They were undertaken after Raheel Siddiqui, 20, of Taylor, Michigan, died after falling nearly 40 feet in a stairwell.
An attorney for Siddiqui’s family, Nabih Ayad, has said the family has “always suspected hazing of some sort” in connection with his death. He did not return a phone call Thursday.
A redacted investigative report did not mention Siddiqui by name but appeared to describe his death. It says that on March 18, the day Siddiqui died, an unnamed recruit wrote a note to his drill instructor asking to go to the infirmary for a sore throat. Because he didn’t follow proper procedure, the recruit was forced to run back and forth in his barracks, the report said.
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