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A sergeant and a corporal were charged in July with hazing after allegedly pushing a junior Marine in the chest late last year.
Sgt. Matthew McKnight and Cpl. Michael Greenwell, both of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, were arraigned July 24 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif. According to military court records, McKnight is charged with conspiracy and hazing, while Greenwell is charged with conspiracy, hazing and assault consummated by battery.
According to charge sheets reviewed by Marine Corps Times, McKnight and Greenwell are both accused of pushing an unnamed private first class in the chest with their hands on Dec. 2, 2012. Three other lance corporals are named in the charge sheets as co-conspirators to hazing the junior Marine, and one, Lance Cpl. Brandon Harris, allegedly restricted the Marine’s freedom of movement during the incident. The charge sheets indicate that the accusations against the Marines were made in June.
It’s not clear from the documents whether the accuser was pushed repeatedly, how hard he was pushed or how long the alleged pushing continued.
According to Camp Pendleton officials, McKnight, originally from Arkansas, joined the Marine Corps in 2008 and has deployed three times to Afghanistan, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Greenwell joined the Marine Corps in 2010 and deployed once in 2012 aboard the amphibious assault ship Makin Island with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The charges come on the heels of a new hazing policy that requires unit commanders to take every hazing report and allegation seriously. A July 18 Marine administrative message mandates that any hazing incident be brought to the attention of the unit’s equal opportunity office within 72 hours of the commander learning about it. The order requires all hazing allegations to be entered in the Discrimination and Sexual Harassment database to enable “cradle-to-grave” tracking.