(MILITARY TIMES) Four soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas, who are serving in Iraq under Multi-National Division-South have been charged with cruelty and maltreatment of their subordinates, officials announced Aug. 21.
The charges were preferred Aug. 19 against Staff Sgt. Enoch Chatman, Staff Sgt. Bob Clements, Sgt. Jarrett Taylor and Spc. Daniel Weber. All four soldiers belong to B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, at Fort Bliss.
The men are accused of treating five soldiers in their platoon inappropriately, officials said.
The alleged mistreatment consisted of verbal abuse, physical punishment and ridicule of the subordinate soldiers, Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, spokesman for MND-South, wrote in an e-mail to Army Times.
The alleged maltreatment came to light during a separate investigation into the death of a soldier from non-combat related causes, Olson said.
However, Olson emphasized that there is no direct evidence that the alleged misconduct caused the death.
“Accusations of cruelty and maltreatment are taken very seriously, and we will investigate this isolated incident thoroughly,” Brig. Gen. David Elicerio, deputy commanding general for MND-South, said in a statement.
All four soldiers face charges of cruelty and maltreatment and reckless endangerment.
Chatman, Clements and Taylor also are charged with making false official statements. In addition, Clements and Weber are accused of impeding an investigation.
Because of the different charges against each soldier, the maximum penalty each man could face, if found guilty, ranges from eight to 25 years confinement. They also could receive a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a reduction in rank to E-1.
Chatman, from West Covina, Calif., has been in the Army for nine years, while Clements, of Eastland, Texas, has been in the Army for five, Olson said. Taylor is from Edmond, Okla., and Webster is from Frankenmuth, Mich., and both have been in the Army for four years, he said.