CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A beer promotion that a convicted rapist’s attorney partially blamed for his client’s actions has ended, Marine officials said Friday.
The Palms at Camp Hansen in Okinawa no longer will offer 50-cent draft beers Wednesday nights at the enlisted club because Marine Corps Community Services never sanctioned the promotion, said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Danny Chung.
“[The cancellation] did not have anything to do with the trial,” he said. “However, the command offices belonging to MCCS discovered it through that process, and as a result canceled the promotion.”
The promotion ran contrary to Defense Department policy by glamorizing alcohol, Chung said.
Restaurants conducting promotions are required to have them approved by the MCCS executive branch, located on Camp Foster, Chung said.
The promotion came to light Monday when Marine Pvt. Justin Echak, 22, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape, sodomy and lesser offenses.
During questioning by military judge Lt. Col. D.J. Daugherty, Echak said he had downed 10 to 15 beers at the enlisted club the night he sexually assaulted two women in their barracks.
Navy Lt. Andrew Wilkes, Echak’s attorney, argued that curfew restrictions and rules against owning a car give young Marines little else to do at night but drink.
“When you have 50-cent drafts nights at The Palms and the young Marines are slamming down 50-cent Budweisers as fast as they can, what do you expect?” Wilkes asked during the trial Monday.
Under a pretrial agreement, Echak could serve just four years of his sentence if he stays out of trouble.