Local News

Pennsylvania soldier pleads guilty in alleged Bragg hazing case

Posted August 13, 2012 12:21 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2012 5:29 p.m. EDT

— The trial of a second soldier accused of driving an Asian-American private to suicide last fall began Monday at Fort Bragg.

Spc. Ryan J. Offutt of Greenville, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count of hazing and two specifications of maltreatment in the death of 19-year-old Danny Chen of New York, who shot himself last year in Afghanistan after being hazed over his ethnicity, according to authorities.

Military Judge Col. Michael Hargis sentenced Offutt to six months in prison and demoted him to private. He will also receive a bad conduct discharge from the Army.

Offutt had been charged with negligent homicide, three counts of assault, reckless endangerment, four counts of maltreatment of a subordinate and two counts of violating a lawful general regulation.

He was accused of calling Chen derogatory names, kicking him and throwing rocks and water bottles at him, according to court documents.

In exchange for his plea and a promise to testify against the other soldiers involved in the death, all remaining charges against Offutt were dropped.

Last month, Sgt. Adam Holcomb was convicted of mistreating Chen days before Chen's suicide, but he was acquitted of causing Chen's death.

Holcomb was sentenced to 30 days in a military prison, demotion of one rank and forfeiture of more than $1,100 in pay. Five other soldiers also are charged in Chen's death.