Former prison officer admits to sexually abusing a female inmate and tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that a former Bureau of Prisons prison officer at an Aliceville, Alabama, facility admitted to sexually abusing a female inmate and tampering with a witness last year.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a statement that Eric Todd Ellis, 32, pled guilty in federal court on Tuesday to one count of sexual abuse of a ward and one count of tampering with a witness.
According to court filings, Ellis deliberately engaged in a sexual act with an unknown female inmate in the back of the Federal Correctional Institution-Aliceville facility on or around June 11 last year. During the event, he was on duty and operating in his position as a prison officer.
According to the Department of Justice, the female inmate was in formal detention and was under Ellis’ custody. According to the statement, Ellis eventually confirmed his actions to another prison officer.
Following the incident, the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation into Ellis’ actions. During the investigation, Ellis instructed a prison officer he had previously spoken with about the event over the phone to “just tell [the OIG investigators]…” According to the statement, “I merely told you that nothing happened.”
According to the Department of Justice, Ellis stated in a plea deal that he created the remark in order to urge the other corrections officer to offer false information to OIG agents about his sexual assault of the female inmate.
Special Agent in Charge James Boyersmith of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General Miami Field Office was cited as saying, “Ellis sexually abused an inmate in his custody and then tried to persuade another correctional officer to assist him cover up his crime.”
According to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, “inmates incarcerated inside jails and prisons have the right to be free from sexual assaults and sexually abusive behavior.”
According to the Department of Justice, Ellis’ sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 26.