Federal prison officers indicted for allegedly assaulting inmates, then trying to cover it up

Published 4:02 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

Three correctional officers at a federal prison in eastern Kentucky have been indicted on charges alleging civil rights violations, officials said.

A federal grand jury in London returned an indictment Thursday charging the officers at U.S. Penitentiary Big Sandy in Inez with violating an individual’s rights under the color of law and of falsifying records to impede an investigation, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV.

The indictment alleges Officers Samuel Patrick, 41, and Clinton Pauley, 40, assaulted one inmate and attempted to cover it up and Lt. Kevin Pearce, 37, helped with the cover-up, the Justice Department said in a statement. Pauley was also charged with assaulting a second inmate and attempting to cover it up, the statement said. The indictment alleges both assaults occurred in 2021 and resulted in bodily injury.

The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on an open case, but spokesperson Donald Murphy told the Lexington Herald-Leader allegations of misconduct are taken seriously.

“The BOP takes seriously our duty to protect the individuals entrusted in our custody as well as maintain the safety of correctional staff and the community,” Murphy said. “Incidents of potential criminal activity or misconduct inside BOP facilities are thoroughly investigated for potential administrative discipline or criminal prosecution.”