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Marine Sentenced to Year in Jail for Abuse

Marine Sentenced to Year in Jail for Abuse


A Marine staff sergeant pleaded guilty Tuesday to abusing 17 male subordinates by touching them sexually, making sexually offensive comments, and accusing them of being gay, according to The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va.

A military judge sentenced Staff Sgt. James McCoy to a year in confinement, gave him a reduction in rank, and ordered a bad conduct discharge. He could have faced 17 years in prison due to the severity of the charges but offered a guilty plea to maltreatment of the 17 subordinates, causing the government to drop 24 other charges against him, including 14 counts of sexual misconduct and three counts of assault.

McCoy led a training company at a base in rural Chesapeake, Va. He admitted to regularly "sack-tapping" his subordinates -- hitting their genitals with the front or back of his hand -- and to playing "gay chicken," in which he would place his hand on someone's body in a sexual manner to see how the other person would react.

Lt. Drew Carmichael, who defended McCoy, said his antics were no worse than those of "a senior on a high school football game bullying the freshmen" and that he should serve no more than one month behind bars. A minister who knows McCoy and his wife also testified that he is a good husband and a devoted father to their six children.

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