DENVER — An Army recruiter was demoted Tuesday after admitting that he encouraged a high school student to use a fake diploma and a drug detox kit to fulfill enlistment requirements.
Sgt. 1st Class Eric Mulero was demoted to staff sergeant during a summary court martial at the Military Entrance Processing Station. His salary will be cut from about $39,000 to $34,300 a year.
The 15-year Army veteran can appeal the decision.
“I know I’m a good soldier. I used poor judgment,” Mulero said. “I’m not going to let this bring me down. I’m going to bounce back from this.”
Mulero pleaded guilty to encouraging David McSwane, 18, to create fake documents and get the detox kit. McSwane was a 17-year-old Arvada West High School senior who tried, as part of a school project, to enlist in the Army as a pot-smoking high school dropout.
He secretly recorded Mulero telling him how to obtain a phony diploma and transcripts from an online diploma mill.
“I’m pleased to see he still has a career. He’s a good soldier who made a mistake,” McSwane said. “There was a mistake made that was clearly the result of incredible pressure put on recruiters to produce, produce, produce at any cost.”
McSwane also secretly videotaped another recruiter in the Golden office who went with him to buy the detox kit.