Specialist Ryan Offutt Pleads Guilty to Hazing Private Danny Chen
Finally a bit of justice leveled in the court proceedings surrounding the suicide of Private Danny Chen. Monday afternoon, a few short weeks after the first suspect (Sgt. Adam Holcomb) came away with a judicial slap on the wrist, Specialist Ryan Offutt pleaded guilty to maltreatment and hazing in connection with Chen’s death.
The court-martial resulted in a sentence of six months confinement, a reduction in rank from Specialist to E-1 (basic training), and a bad conduct discharge from the United States Army. Councilwoman Margaret Chin, an outspoken advocate of proper punishment for the guilty, released the following statement:
“This sentence is a victory for the Chen family and for all Americans. We cannot tolerate bullying and hazing in our military or in our society. Spc. Offutt used a multitude of racial slurs against Private Chen, hurled rocks at him, and physically abused him. I am proud that the Army has taken a stand against hazing and handed down a bad conduct discharge in this case. The removal of Spc. Offutt from the Army is necessary to make clear that the United States Military will not tolerate racism, bigotry, and abuse at the hands of superior officers.”
“The Chen family has fought for justice for their son, and for all of servicemen and women. This sentence ensures that Spc. Offutt will never again have the opportunity to harm or harass a fellow soldier. I hope this sentence sends a message to anyone who is suffering from bullying and hazing in the armed forces. Now is the time to speak out. This type of conduct is unacceptable and those who perpetrate this behavior must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Xiaomin Zhao, Policy Associate and Constituent Liaison, and Crystal Chen, intern, are representing Margaret Chin in Fort Bragg this week.