Autistic Marine Pleads Guilty to Charges

Marine Corps recruits train at the Edson Firing Range during a visit to Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (not shown) in northern San Diego County Monday, Jan. 7, 2008. AP Photo/Denis Poroy

An autistic Marine has received a three-year suspended sentence and been given a bad-conduct discharge after he pleaded guilty to desertion and other charges at Camp Pendleton.

Pvt. Joshua Fry of Orange County had a plea bargain approved by Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert yesterday that will allow him to leave the brig by the end of the week after serving nearly a year there.

The 21-year-old could have been sentenced to 42 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

The Marine Corps is investigating how Fry was allowed to enlist even though his recruiter knew he had been diagnosed as autistic.

Authorities say Fry tried to run away and had child pornography on his computer and cell phone after he went to Camp Pendleton for infantry training.
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