Marine Corps drill instructors allegedly sent recruits to an illegal training ground called the “dungeon” and drank alcohol on the job, recruits said at an Article 32 hearing Thursday.
Staff Sgt. Antonio B. Burke, a drill instructor at the Parris Island Marine Corps recruit depot in South Carolina, has been charged with cruelty and maltreatment, among other offenses, The Washington Post reports.
The hearing is similar to a grand jury proceeding and will determine whether or not Burke will face a court-martial. That decision is likely to come this month.
His charges have come in connection with reports of hazing and abuse against recruits. Those reports came into public light after one recruit died from a fall after running away from a drill instructor March 18, 2016.
This recruit, Pvt. Raheel Sidiqqui, was a Muslim.
Other drill instructors are also facing serious punishment for stuffing recruits in a large clothes dryer and turning it on. Those particular drill instructors have remained unidentified.
In Burke’s case, four recruits said he regularly called them “stupid” and “faggot.”
Lance Cpl. Kelvin Cabrera testified that Burke took his recruits into a dirty building in complete disrepair called the “dungeon” and made them do burpees and pushups on a floor covered in yellow dust.
Burke then apparently took one of Cabrera’s family photos and expressed attraction for Cabrera’s older sister.
“It was like an inside joke-type thing,” Burke said.
Additionally, Burke also apparently told the smart recruits to help him finish his college homework.
One other recruit stated that he passed out multiple times while in the dungeon and eventually had to drop out, due to a medical condition.
Evan Murdoch, a former recruit, stated he, too, passed out, an event Burke tried to pretend never happened. Murdoch said the incident occurred because of excessive training.
“Look, that didn’t happen today, did it,” Murdoch recounted Burke as allegedly saying.
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