A military court denied the appeal of a former Parris Island drill instructor sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing three Muslim recruits, including Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, who died during boot camp in 2016.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals reviewed the 2017 court-martial of Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Felix Jr. and affirmed his conviction and sentence.
decision issued last week, the court called Felix a "bully" whose "misconduct impacted an entire generation of Marines."
"The appellant was placed in a position of trust, charged with turning young men into Marines. He was one of their first authority figures — their first example of what a Marine was supposed to be," Senior Judge and Capt. Frank D. Hutchison wrote for the court.
"Instead of providing a positive example and conducting meaningful training, he taught his recruits, by his example, that rule-breaking was commonplace and that violence against fellow Marines was not only acceptable, but required to instill discipline. Not only did he fail to correct or report his subordinates' bad behavior, he encouraged it and participated in worse and more pervasive behavior."
U.S. Marine Corps recruits of Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, wait for the next command during a final drill evaluation Aug. 2, 2017, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Joseph Jacob)
The U.S. Marine Corps continues to grapple with hazing at its storied recruit training center at Parris Island in South Carolina, where the service punished at least eight drill instructors and a number of officers for abusive behavior last year, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing multiple internal investigations.
The incidents uncovered by the Post involved female drill instructors in the 4th Recruit Training Battalion mistreating female recruits. Battalion drill instructors reportedly humiliated, physically assaulted, and even endangered recruits.
These incidents come despite the Corps' best efforts to curb these unacceptable and dangerous practices.
In one situation, a drill instructor allegedly made a recruit put "feces soiled underwear" on her head.
A pledge is displayed during a Change the Culture program, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Oct. 4, 2018. U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Matthew Kirk
Tamara Campbell started receiving letters from her ex-husband, Bradley Darlington, after he'd been in jail for almost two years.
Sometimes they came to her directly and sometimes they were forwarded to her by her former in-laws. Regardless of how they arrived, the letters violated the victim/witness program procedures in place at Naval Consolidated Brig Chesapeake, where Darlington was incarcerated.