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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Former Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice

WASHINGTON – A former corrections officer for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in Potosi, Mo., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to one count of obstruction of justice, admitting that she intentionally misled law enforcement officials about her role in the assault of an inmate housed in the Washington County Jail (WCJ), the Department of Justice today announced .

Valeria Wilson Jackson pleaded guilty to charges arising out of an incident that occurred at the WCJ on Sept. 29, 2005, when an inmate, identified in court documents by the initials G.G., was severely beaten by other inmates and suffered significant injuries, including a broken orbital bone. Today in court, Jackson admitted that she placed G.G., who she claimed had annoyed her and called her a name, in a cellblock with an inmate whom Jackson knew to be violent. Wilson Jackson then encouraged the inmate to assault G.G. In addition, Jackson admitted that she intentionally misled a special agent of the FBI when she denied knowing at the time that the inmate was likely to assault G.G. and when she denied encouraging the inmate to assault G.G.

"When officers use their position to instigate violence and then make false statements to investigating authorities, our system of justice suffers," said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez. "The Justice Department will not tolerate abuses of official authority by law enforcement officers."

Obstruction of justice charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s St. Louis office and is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Patricia Sumner and Fara Gold.

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