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Gunnery sergeant found not guilty on hazing charges

Sep. 12, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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A South Carolina-based staff noncommissioned officer has been acquitted on hazing charges.

Gunnery Sgt. James McArthur, an air traffic controller with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., faced a special court-martial from Sept. 3 through 5. He was found not guilty of violating the Marine Corps’ order on hazing, and of maltreatment and obstructing justice, said Capt. Jordan Cochran, a spokesman for the air station.

McArthur was one of two staff noncommissioned officers to face trial in connection with allegations of hazing aboard Beaufort. He and Staff Sgt. Justin Samford, an air traffic controller with the same unit, were charged on May 20.

Samford pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and two charges of hazing order violation, Cochran said. He faced a summary court-martial in July.

“This resulted in 45 days restriction and forfeiture of two-thirds of his salary for one month,” Cochran said.

Marine Corps Times submitted several requests to Beaufort public affairs officers for further information about the hazing allegations against the two Marines. Also submitted was a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the investigation. The request was denied by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service due to privacy issues. Marine Corps Times is currently appealing the denial.

The hazing charges stem from an investigation launched Dec. 12 when a Marine in the two air controllers’ chain of command alleged mistreatment, according to a Marine Corps news release. Col. Brian Murtha, the air station’s commanding officer, initiated the investigation after the complaint arose. It was completed by the Criminal Investigative Division.

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