A military jury sentenced a Marine drill instructor Thursday to six months in the brig and a bad-conduct discharge for abusing recruits in a case that prosecutors hoped would reassure trainees that they won't be abused at boot camp.
Sgt. Jerrod M. Glass also received a reduction in rank to private and pay forfeiture.
He had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years of confinement, dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank, and forfeiture of pay and benefits.
Prosecutors recommended that he spend two years in the brig and receive a bad-conduct discharge for abusing 23 recruits.
Former colleagues lined up to hug Glass and shake his hand after the verdict was read.
Glass, 25, hugged his mother and father.
His mother broke down in the courtroom.
Glass' father, Jerry Glass, tearfully criticized the Marines' handling of the case.
"I thought the Marine Corps stood for, 'Leave no man behind,"' he told reporters. "I think they had their head in the sand or they are not being honest with the public."
Glass' mother, Barbara Glass, said she felt numb.
"I still believe he did not do anything he was not instructed to do ... by his superiors," she said. "If it's denied, I know it's a bald-faced lie by the Marine Corps."
The jury deliberated for two hours.