A former Parris Island drill instructor has received a relatively light sentence after being convicted of mistreating recruits.
Staff Sgt. Antonio Burke was sentenced Friday to be reduced in rank to sergeant and to receive a reprimand, a Marine Corps official confirmed.
Burke was convicted of breaking the rules for “incentive training,” during which recruits exercise as punishment for 15 minutes; making recruits do his homework and forcing a recruit to change his Facebook password so he could ask the recruit’s sister out to drinks, according to Military.com.
But Burke was found not guilty of charges stemming from allegations that he and other drill instructors made recruits exercise in a dusty, abandoned building nicknamed “The Dungeon,” Military.com reported.
As of Saturday, Training and Education Command had not issued a formal news release about Burke’s conviction or sentence.
The incidents for which Burke was convicted occurred from March and June 2016, while Burke was senior drill instructor for Platoon 3044 at Parris Island.
At Burke’s Article 32 hearing in January, witnesses testified that Burke and other drill instructors made recruits exercise in the squad bay for punishment much longer than the usual 15 minutes while wearing packs and other gear.
Zachary Mosier, a former recruit, testified that he passed out during one such punitive exercise session but he was not taken to the hospital or seen by medical personnel. Mosier was later medically retired for a heart condition.
During an investigation, Burke admitted to making recruits doing “illegal IT,” but he denied that Mossier had ever passed out, according to an audio recording of the conversation played at the hearing.
Lance Cpl. Kelvin Cabrera also testified that Burke made recruits do his homework for college courses and routinely confiscated pictures of recruits’ families and girlfriends.
In one incident, Burke and three other drill instructors made Cabrera do burpees until he helped them change his Facebook password, Cabrera said. Burke wanted to contact one of Cabrera’s sisters, whom he saw in a family picture and said was “hot.”
Then Burke became enamored with another of Cabrera’s sisters, whose pictures he saw on Facebook, and made Cabrera call her so that Burke could ask her out, telling her, “I heard you were single; I am single too,” Cabrera said.
Three other drill instructors were involved with the case: Staff Sgt. Jose Lucena-Martinez received administrative punishment; Staff Sgt. Matthew T. Bacchus was sentenced to 60 days’ restriction; and Sgt. Riley R. Gress was found not guilty of all charges.