A Southold High School graduate and staff sergeant in the U.S. Marines pleaded guilty on Wednesday to urinating on Taliban corpses during a counterinsurgency operation near Sandala in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province in July of 2011, according to a report from Reuters.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola, of Southold, is only one Marine facing disciplinary action after a video appeared on YouTube last winter depicting U.S. soldiers urinating on Taliban corpses. Deptola pleaded guilty during his court martial at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
Reuters reports that Deptola said during the hearing that he was in a position to stop the incident but he did not. He pleaded guilty to being negligent in his duties by not properly supervising junior Marines and wrongfully posing for unofficial photos with human casualties. He also admitted to urinating on one of the corpses and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a machine gun recovered the enemy, according to the report.
Fellow Marine Joseph W. Chamblin also pleaded guilty this past December to urinating on a Taliban corpse and posing for photos.
Sentencing for Deptola is pending.
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