This Marine’s Punishment Shows The Corps Is Finally Cracking Down On Hazing
The highest-ranking Marine to face a court-martial in connection with hazing and abuse at Parris Island has pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and related offenses, according to media reports, a landmark case that signals the Corps will punish senior leaders who condone the brutal initiation rites and bullying that have persisted for decades.
Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon will receive a reprimand and see his pay docked $1,000 a month for five months, Marine Corps Times reported Monday. Kissoon has requested to retire as part of a plea agreement reached with prosecutors.
Parris Island has been under a cloud of suspicion since a recruit died there in March 2016, revealing widespread abuse of recruits and junior drill instructors. A Michigan lawmaker demanded an investigation after another Parris Island recruit died that November. It was later determined he succumbed to pneumonia. A third recruit was critically injured when he jumped from the second story of a building in October 2016.
The fact that the Marine Corps is punishing a former training battalion commander at Parris Island for failing to stop hazing sends a message to everyone involved with recruit training, said retired Marine Lt. Col. Gary Solis, a former military lawyer and judge.
“Military justice serves two purposes – not only an effort to achieve justice but an effort to enhance discipline,” Solis told Task & Purpose on Monday. “Everybody, certainly, at the recruit depots are going to take notice to what happened to this battalion commander and pay a little more attention to how they command their troops – as they should.”
Kissoon likely pleaded guilty because he felt that the prosecution had a strong case against him and military judges tend to grant more leniency to troops who plead guilty than to service members convicted after a contested trial, Solis said.
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