SAN DIEGO – A Marine drill instructor has been charged with 225 criminal counts connected to abusing recruits, a Marines spokesman said Thursday.
In one incident, Sgt. Jerrod M. Glass allegedly ordered a recruit to jump head-first into a trash can and then pushed him further into the container, according to court documents cited in The San Diego Union-Tribune. He is also accused of striking recruits with a tent pole and a heavy flashlight.
Two other drill instructors, Sgt. Robert C. Hankins and Sgt. Brian M. Wendel, face special courts-martial in the case, the Marines said. Arraignment dates have not been scheduled for either Marine.
A fourth drill instructor, whose name was not released, was disciplined and reassigned to administrative duties.
Glass postponed making a plea during a court appearance at San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot, where he worked, said spokesman Austin Mansfield. The charges include 91 counts of assault, 90 of failure to obey lawful orders and 27 of cruelty and maltreatment.
The charges cover about 110 alleged incidents between Dec. 23, 2006 and Feb. 10, the Marines said in press release. No member of his platoon was seriously injured.
Glass, who had worked as a drill sergeant for less than a year when the alleged mistreatment occurred, was relieved of duty as a drill instructor in February. He is scheduled to go to court-martial Nov. 8.
In court Wednesday, Glass did not speak except to answer basic questions from the judge, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Meeks. Defense lawyer Capt. Patrick J. Callahan asked that all counts be read aloud.
Callahan did not immediately respond to a phone message for comment Thursday.
About 17,000 recruits graduate each year from the San Diego depot. Newly enlisted Marines train there and at Parris Island, S.C.
Last year, four Marines at the San Diego depot were charged in the drowning of a fellow drill instructor during a water survival training course. Two were acquitted of wrongdoing in the case. Charges were dropped against a third Marine and a fourth received nonjudicial discipline.
Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University Law Center, estimates that on average about six drill instructors, or DIs, are charged nationwide each year with abusing recruits.
"These kids are helpless before DI's," Solis said. "The DI is God and they have no immediate recourse."
Abuse charges against Marines have become less common since six recruits drowned during a training exercise at Parris Island in 1956, Solis said.