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February 10, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the second marine of three being held in the Lance Cpl. Harry Lew military hazing case was found innocent of all charges.  The not guilty verdict for Sgt. Benjamin Johns comes just weeks after Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby received minimal sentencing in the same case, leaving family members of the victim – including Congresswoman Chu (CA-32), who was Harry’s aunt – to question the Marine Corps’ commitment to delivering justice.  Following the verdict, Congresswoman Chu released the following statement:

“The not guilty verdict in Sgt. John’s trial twists the knife even further into the wounds that were caused by Harry’s hazing death.  It is outrageous and a travesty of justice.  It was an upset Sgt. Johns that led two lance corporals, Harry’s peers, to take matters into their own hands and assault him for 3 ½ hours,  leading Harry to commit suicide 20 minutes later. Yet the military does not hold Sgt. Johns responsible for any of this.

“This verdict shows that hazing in the military is not only accepted but in fact, imbedded very deeply into its culture, including the jury, which was comprised entirely of fellow Marines.  This not guilty verdict comes after a light jail sentence of one month against Lance Corporal Jacoby, who did most of the hazing.  All the pronouncements made by the military officials that hazing is officially prohibited are empty words.  The real message from these two verdicts is that the Marines will let violent assaults continue unabated against troops who are supposed to be fighting on the same side of the war.”