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Kentucky Guards Sentenced to Federal Prison in Detainee Abuse Prosecution

A Kentucky federal court has sentenced five guards from the Fayette County Detention Center (FCDC) who were prosecuted in connection with systematic abuse of prisoners at the facility.

FCDC Sgt. John McQueen, 33, and Cpl. Clarence McCoy, 31, were convicted by a federal jury on May 13, 2010. It was established at trial that they and other FCDC guards had conspired to deprive detainees of their constitutional rights by physically abusing them and by creating false and misleading incident reports to conceal the abuse. The conspiracy charge identified multiple incidents of abuse that occurred between January 1 and October 1, 2006. Other charges described specific incidents of abuse and acts of obstruction of justice. [See: PLN, Dec. 2008, p.50].

Before trial, FCDC Lt. Christine Lafoe pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice; Sgt. Anthony Estep pleaded guilty to a civil rights charge and an obstruction charge for failing to intervene in the abuse; and Cpl. Scott Tyree pleaded guilty to a civil rights conspiracy charge.

“The power granted to correctional officers so that they can perform their critical public safety duties does not give them free reign to abuse the civil and constitutional rights of inmates under their supervision,” said U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez. “Those officers who abuse their power and the public trust in this way will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

McQueen and McCoy were sentenced in September 2010; both received 120 months in federal prison plus two years’ supervised release. Previously, Lafoe received a 12-month sentence and two years’ supervised release, Estep was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day plus one year on supervised release, and Tyree received 18 months plus two years’ supervised release.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice press release

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