WASHINGTON – Former Bureau of Prisons Officer Ricky Bernard pleaded guilty today to a five-count information charging him with sexual abuse of a ward and abusive sexual contact with a ward stemming from sexual misconduct with three inmates at the Federal Prison Camp Bryan in Bryan, Texas. Bernard also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a federal agency about the details of the sexual misconduct. Bernard faces up to eight years imprisonment and a fine of $460,000.
In documents filed in federal court today, Bernard admitted that on numerous occasions he had sexual contact with inmates under his supervision while on duty as a Bureau of Prisons officer in 2003 and 2004. Bernard also admitted that he subsequently lied about the sexual misconduct with inmates to federal law enforcement officers and in a sworn affidavit.
In announcing the guilty plea, Wan J, Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, applauded the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for jointly spearheading the federal investigation, including the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. Since fiscal year 2001, the Division has convicted 50 percent more defendants for excessive force and official misconduct than in the preceding six years.
Civil Rights Division attorneys Karima Maloney and Jennifer Dominguez and OIG Special Agent Monte Cason handled this matter for the Department.