A former Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island drill instructor agreed to a deal with Corps prosecutors to avoid a court-martial for allegedly mistreating recruits in “The Dungeon,” an abandoned building at the depot.
According to the Marine Corps Times, Staff Sgt. Jose Lucena-Martinez was spared special court-martial by Training and Education Command’s Brig. Gen. Kevin Iiams, who approved “a pre-trial agreement with prosecutors.”
Lucena-Martinez received an administrative punishment instead, according to the newspaper. The Corps will not release details about administrative actions taken against personnel, the command’s spokesman Capt. Joshua Pena told The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette in March, but Lucena-Martinez lost his job as a drill instructor, according to the Marine Corps Times.
The news comes about two weeks after Staff Sgt. Matthew T. Bacchus lost his drill instructor billet, according to the Marine Corps Times, after he pleaded guilty at a summary court-martial to violation of a lawful general order and maltreatment, according to a statement from the command. He was found not guilty of making a false statement. He was sentenced to 60 days restriction.
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Both men were implicated in an April 2016 investigation of “The Dungeon” incident, which found recruits were called names and forced to exercise in the dusty, abandoned building.
Another man linked to that incident, Sgt. Riley R. Gress, was found not guilty of maltreatment, failure to obey a lawful order and making a false official statement at a court-martial last month.
A fourth Marine linked to the incident, Staff Sgt. Antonio Burke, is scheduled to face a general court-martial — the highest-level military court — later this summer. He is charged with cruelty and maltreatment, failure to obey a lawful general order and making a false statement.
In addition to his alleged involvement in “The Dungeon,” Burke is also accused of making a recruit change his Facebook his password so Burke could contact one of the recruit’s sisters, and having that recruit call another of his sisters so Burke could ask her out for drink, according to the Marine Corps Times.
While the investigation became linked with others that coincided after the death of former recruit Raheel Siddiqui on March 18, 2016, none of the aforementioned Marines were tied to that incident, nor to another in July 2015, when a recruit was allegedly forced into a commercial clothes dryer and interrogated about his faith and loyalty.
Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Felix faces a general court-martial for his alleged involvement in both incidents; his trial is scheduled to begin later this summer.
Sgt. Michael K. Eldridge is also scheduled for a court-martial later this summer for his alleged role in the dryer incident.
All of the aforementioned Marines were under the command of then-3rd Recruit Training Battalion’s Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon.