3 Charged in Hazing Death of Bay Area Marine

Grand jury hearing will take place Sept. 8.

Harry Lew

Three Hawaii-based Marines are accused of hazing a fellow Marine who killed himself in Afghanistan.

[Our original story about this military investigation is here.]

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the April 3 death in Helmand province determined Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, 21, committed suicide, Lt. Col. Curtis Hill, spokesman for U.S Marine Forces Pacific, said in an email Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Carlos Orozco III, Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby and Sgt. Benjamin Johns were charged last month with various offenses, including ``wrongfully humiliating and demeaning'' Lew, of Santa Clara.

``The Marine Corps does not tolerate hazing of any kind,'' Hill said.

Orozco, 22, ordered Lew ``to do push-ups, side planks, leg lifts with a sandbag, while wearing full personal protective equipment and pouring sand onto his face,'' according to the cruelty and maltreatment charge against Orozco. The allegations also include kicking Lew in the head and stomping on his back.

Jacoby, 21, is charged with various assault violations, including kicking and punching Lew. He is also charged with threatening to beat Lew.

According to the charges, Johns, 26, ``willfully failed to supervise and ensure the welfare of the Marines under his care.''

The three are assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division at Marine Corps Based Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.

``I am compelled to mention these Marines are presumed innocent until proven guilty,'' Hill said.

An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing, is scheduled for Sept. 8 at the base.

``During the proceeding, the investigating officer will review the evidence, and he will make recommendations to the convening authority as to the form and nature of the charges as well as recommending disposition,'' Hill said.

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