US sgt. convicted of hazing in private's suicide

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Associated Press

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 9:34 PM

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The seventh of eight courts-martial in the case of a soldier allegedly driven to suicide after being hazed has ended with a mixed verdict.

The Fayetteville Observer reports (http://bit.ly/TWXSEy ) a jury found 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel guilty of hazing Pvt. Danny Chen, of New York. The jury also found three specifications of dereliction of duty and two specifications of maltreatment, specifically related to racist nicknames for Chen and for having Chen speak Chinese to his fellow soldiers. The paper reports that Van Bockel was acquitted of two specifications of maltreatment.

Van Bockel, of Aberdeen, S.D., faces a maximum sentence of four years and nine months. Authorities say the 19-year-old Chen shot himself last year in Afghanistan after being hazed over his ethnicity.

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