MCAS Beaufort officer acquitted on hazing charges

Beaufort GazetteSeptember 7, 2013 

— A staff non-commissioned officer has been acquitted of hazing charges at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, a base public-affairs officer said Friday.

Gunnery Sgt. James McArthur was charged with violating orders, maltreatment and obstructing justice.

McArthur was one of two MCAS staff members charged after an investigation of hazing allegations by the base's Criminal Investigative Division. The investigation began in December.

The other staff member charged, Staff Sgt. Justin Samford, pleaded guilty to the charges against him in July.

Samford, an air traffic controller assigned to headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, was charged with violating orders, maltreatment, making a false official statement and assault. He and McArthur were in the same unit.

Samford received 45 days restriction and lost two-thirds of his salary for one month.

Capt. Jordan Cochran, an air station spokesman , has said he does not know details of the incidents that led to the court martials. Those details remained unclear Friday.

In an email, Cochran said the base's policy on hazing is that it will not be tolerated and constitutes military misconduct.

Under the Marine Corps Installations East commanding general's policy on hazing, which applies at the air station, both perpetrators and officers who condone or neglect to investigate suspected hazing incidents can be punished.

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