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Alabama Jail Guard Receives 4 Years for Sexually Abusing Prisoners

An Alabama federal district court sentenced a former guard to four years in prison for sexually abusing male prisoners at the Clay County Jail (CCJ)

Guard Jeffrey Cotney 48, ran the prisoner worker program at CCJ. He recommended who could participate and supervised the workers. In November 2013, a Federal Grand Jury indicated Cotney on eight counts for violating the civil rights of four prisoners by using his authority to sexually abuse or otherwise deprive the prisoners of their constitutional rights between May 2009 and Spring 2010.

A guilty plea to four counts was entered on February 20, 2014, by Cotney. Sentencing followed on May 27. In addition to the prison sentence, Cotney must register as a sex offender and was prohibited from seeking other law enforcement jobs.

In making the plea, Cotney pled to four counts involving three prisoners, but the conduct he admitted to also involved a fourth prisoner. He admitted to coercing one prisoner on four occasions in 2009 to submit to a sexual act. Three of those acts occurred in Cotney’s home. The other occurred on the side of the road. Additionally, he admitted to forcing another prisoner to submit to a strip search without a law enforcement justification in 2009.

Then, in 2009 and 2010, he repeatedly and improperly grabbed and touched a third prisoner. He made that prisoner remove all his clothing under the guise of checking for new tattoos; the prisoner had tattoos on his legs, chest, hipbones, arms and groin. Cotney felt all of them.

Finally, Cotney admitted to falsely accusing a fourth prisoner of possessing contraband and ordered him to lockdown for 45 days before having him transferred to state prison. That accusation was retaliation for rejecting Cotney’s sexual proposition.

Cotney now faces four years of the other side and a lifetime label as a sex offender.

Source: Associated Press

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