Three Former Kentucky Jailers Plead Guilty to Systematic Detainee Abuse and Coverup
|U.S. Department of Justice May 14, 2009|
WASHINGTON—Three former jailers at the Lexington-Fayette County Detention Center (FCDC) pleaded guilty today to civil rights charges in federal court in Lexington, Ky. Loretta King, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, announced that Scott Tyree, Kristine Lafoe, and Anthony Estep were convicted for their roles in abusing pretrial detainees and their efforts to conceal that abuse.
Tyree, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive detainees of their constitutional rights by physically abusing them and by authoring false and misleading incident reports in order to conceal that abuse. Tyree faces a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Lafoe, 43, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to obstruct justice for her role in concealing the abuses at FCDC by permitting others to write false and misleading incident reports in order to justify unnecessary and excessive uses of force. Lafoe faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Estep, 34, pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge and a charge of obstruction of justice by bringing false disciplinary charges with the intent to hinder and delay the reporting of the assault by FCDC officers, and by witnessing and failing to intervene in an incident of abuse by another FCDC officer. Estep faces a maximum prison sentence of two years and a fine of up to $200,000.
Two of the three former jailers have agreed to cooperate in the government’s investigation and prosecution.
“The overwhelming majority of detention officers perform their difficult duties with honor and professionalism,” said Assistant Attorney General King. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal misconduct.”
Today’s guilty pleas resulted from the investigative work of the FBI’s Louisville Division and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The case is being prosecuted by Department attorneys Jared Fishman and Benjamin Hawk.