Abu Ghraib Prison Soldier Admits Guilt

Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick says he regrets his actions while serving at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison but can't offer specific details on why he made those "bad choices."

"I've just come to realize that I am going to accept my responsibilities," Frederick said on ABC News' Good Morning America. "It was the wrong thing to do. It was a bad situation, and I just made some bad choices."

Frederick is the oldest and highest-ranking of the seven Army reservists from the Cresaptown, Md.-based 372nd Military Police Company charged with abusing detainees at the prison.

The 37-year-old issued a statement Monday saying he would plead guilty to certain charges against him. He said he's realized that what he did was a violation of law.

Frederick says he hopes others will come forward and accept their responsibilities as well. He says he believes the wild setting at Abu Ghraib helped to encourage the events that occurred.

"Just basically the whole environment around … with the mortars coming in, the gunfire every night, things of that nature — the stress that was placed inside of the facility," he said.

On Tuesday, an independent panel headed by former Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger concluded that senior commanders and top-level Pentagon officials failed to provide the leadership and oversight that might have prevented abuses from occurring at the prison.

The panel did not recommend that any of those senior commanders be punished.

To date, Frederick, of Buckingham, Va., is the most senior soldier to acknowledge any legal culpability for the abuses.

He is charged with maltreating detainees, conspiracy to maltreat detainees, dereliction of duty and wrongfully committing an indecent act. He is scheduled to plead guilty to some charges at an Oct. 20 sentencing hearing in Baghdad, his lawyer, Gary Myers, said Tuesday at a pretrial hearing in Mannheim, Germany. Myers has not said which crimes Frederick will acknowledge and which will be dismissed.

When asked about Schlesinger's characterization of Abu Ghraib's night shift as an "animal house," Frederick said he's not in a position to judge the situation in such terms.

"That's way above my pay grade, to make that kind of a decision," Frederick said.

The Abu Ghraib scandal erupted last spring when graphic photos were made public, causing worldwide outrage at the physical abuse and sexual humiliation of inmates.

Frederick would be the second Abu Ghraib defendant to plead guilty. Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits pleaded guilty May 19 and was sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the abuse of prisoners.

Frederick's wife, Martha, accompanied her husband to his pretrial hearing this week. The couple's two daughters are staying with relatives.

Martha Frederick says her marriage will survive the charges against her husband and she says she will continue to support him until it's over.

"My husband is a wonderful man and I know that the pictures do not represent the person that he is under normal circumstances," she said. "I'm very proud of him for coming up and accepting the responsibilities of all of this."

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