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Saturday, December 20, 2014         

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Another Marine in hazing case goes to court martial Monday

By William Cole

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 Sgt. Benjamin E. Johns, 26, is charged with humiliating and demeaning Lew and dereliction for failure to supervise a Marine under his care.

A second court-martial trial in an alleged hazing case in Afghanistan that preceded the suicide death of Hawaii Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Lew is scheduled for Monday at the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps base, officials said.

 
Sgt. Benjamin E. Johns, 26, is charged with violation of a lawful order for allegedly humiliating and demeaning Lew and dereliction for failing to supervise a Marine under his care.
 
The Marine Corps previously said if Johns was convicted of all charges at a general court-martial, he would face a maximum 2 1/2 years confinement, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of pay and allowances.
 
The first step on Monday would be to impanel a jury, officials said.
 
Lance Cpl. Jacob D. Jacoby, 21, one of three Marines charged in the case, reached a plea deal Monday and was sentenced to 30 days confinement and a pay grade reduction for assaulting Lew.
 
All the Marines were with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment out of Kaneohe Bay.  
 
Jacoby pleaded guilty to three specifications, or charges, of assault, admitting he kicked Lew in the back and head while Lew was wearing his Kevlar helmet and was in a foxhole, and that he punched Lew in the helmet.
 
A third Marine, Lance Cpl. Carlos Orozco III, 22, faces charges including humiliating Lew; dereliction; maltreatment of Lew for allegedly ordering him to do push-ups, ordering him to do leg lifts with a sandbag and pouring sand on his face; and assault for reportedly placing his boot on Lew's back.
 
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, a California Democrat and Lew's aunt, said on Tuesday that the 30-day sentence given to Jacoby "was a slap in the face to the life of a young man who only wanted to serve his country."
 
Jacoby faced up to a year confinement at the special court-martial. The 30-day sentence sends the message that "hazing will continue unabated," said Chu, who attended the hearing.
 
Chu said she is holding a press conference Thursday in Washington D.C. to address hazing involving her nephew and Army Pvt. Danny Chen, who killed himself in Afghanistan on Oct. 3. Chu said she will be calling for Congressional hearings into the military's response to hazing within its ranks. 






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