Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was ordered Friday to receive a punitive letter of reprimand and forfeit $ 5,000 a month’s salary after pleading guilty to all charges stemming from his public tirades against key military leaders and civilians, the Marine Corps said.
Scheller will now begin the process of leaving service, said Marine Corps spokesman Captain Samuel Stephenson. The nature of the Scheller landfill will be determined by the Secretary of the Navy.
On Thursday, Scheller pleaded guilty to showing contempt for public servants, disrespecting senior officers, willful disobedience to a senior officer, failure to perform his duties, disrespect for an order or regulation and conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.
The military judge handed Scheller a lighter sentence than the maximum allowed under an agreement with prosecutors that would have required Scheller to forgo two-thirds of a month’s salary for 12 months. The judge said in open court that he would have cut Scheller’s salary for two months, but he recognized the Navy Lt. Col. for his time in the brig.
Since August 26, Scheller has addressed a series of criticisms of current and former leaders, defying his leadership by continuing to post on social media despite a written order telling him to stop.
Scheller initially focused his comments on how military leaders were not held accountable for the chaos surrounding the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but his attacks on his superiors quickly escalated. At one point, he pledged to indict the general in charge of the United States Central Command for the deaths of 13 American servicemen killed in an August 26 attack outside the Abbey Gate of the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Scheller also started calling for a “revolution” and telling people to follow him so they could “bring down the whole f-king system.” The Marine Corps ultimately charged Scheller with conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman for 27 different alleged statements, including 10 statements such as: “Every generation needs a revolution; “I plan to bring down the whole system; And, “If the government does not serve the interests of the people, it is the people’s obligation to get rid of the old form of government.”
“The establishment people right now have the power right now because we are allowing this to happen,” Scheller said in a September 10 video. “There is change with us. I love and respect all people with different opinions. I have the ability to inflict violence. I ask for the accountability of my senior leaders. I like the Constitution. I love America. I like the Americans. I love my family. And I believe in myself. And I believe in a higher power.
Scheller told the court on Thursday that his comments about starting a revolution were calls for reforming a system that fails to hold senior leaders accountable and attacks anyone who speaks out.
He told the military judge he now wished he hadn’t said “Follow me and we’ll take down the whole f-king system.” in a video from August 29.
“If I could go back I would have chosen different words,” Scheller said in her statement. “But at no time was this a call for violence. I said the system is broken and needs to be rebuilt. I still have the impression that this is the case. I still think a fundamental change is needed. I still feel a revolution, or rebuilding the broken system is the only way to correct the shortcomings if the top leaders are unable or unwilling to fix it themselves. “
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to clarify that Lt. Col. Scheller was charged with a specification of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman for 27 alleged statements, not 27 specifications of unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.
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