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June 3, 10

NEWS / Former Fayette County, Kentucky, Corrections Officers Sentenced for Civil Rights Charges

WASHINGTON – Scott Tyree, 47, a former officer at the Lexington-Fayette County, Ky., Detention Center (FCDC), and Anthony Estep, 35, a former sergeant and supervisor at FCDC, were sentenced in federal court today in Lexington, Ky., for their roles in the systematic abuse of detainees at FCDC, the Justice Department announced. Federal Judge Karen K. Caldwell sentenced Tyree to serve 18 months in prison and two years of supervised release and Estep to serve 12 months and one day in prison and one year of supervised release.

Tyree pleaded guilty on May 14, 2009, 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 testified for the government during the trial of two co-defendants, John McQueen, 33, and Clarence McCoy, 31, who were convicted by a federal jury on May 13, 2010, for related charges. Judge Caldwell recognized Tyree’s testimony during the trial and granted him a reduced sentence.

Estep pleaded guilty on May 14, 2009, to a civil rights charge for failing to intervene while another officer assaulted a restrained inmate. He also pleaded guilty to an obstruction of justice charge for bringing false charges against an inmate in order to prevent that inmate from reporting an incident of abuse he had witnessed.

"The power granted to correctional officers so that they can perform their critical public safety duties does not give them free rein to abuse the civil and constitutional rights of inmates under their supervision," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "Those officers who abuse their power and the public trust in this way will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

In relation to this case, a fifth defendant, Kristine Lafoe, 44, pleaded guilty on May 14, 2009, to conspiring to obstruct justice by instructing officers under her command to falsify reports to conceal acts of abuse. Lafoe was sentenced on Nov. 18, 2009, to serve 12 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Louisville field office of the FBI, and was prosecuted by Jared Fishman and Benjamin Hawk, Trial Attorneys from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney James Arehart.


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