Two former correctional officers at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Md., were sentenced today in connection with the March 9, 2008, assault of Kenneth Davis, an inmate. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Jeremy McCusker to serve 21 months in prison. Walter Scott Steele was ordered to serve four months in prison and to complete 40 hours of community service.
Jeremy McCusker previously pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law and conspiring to obstruct justice. Walter Scott Steele also pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice as well as making false statements to federal authorities.
Both McCusker and Steele testified for the prosecution at the federal trial of former RCI officer James Kalbflesh, who was convicted for his role in the assault of Davis that took place during a midnight shift and in the subsequent cover up.
During their testimony at Kalbflesh’s trial and in court documents filed in connection with their respective guilty pleas, McCusker and Steele each admitted that they were present when other officers at RCI met during the midnight shift and agreed to assault Davis in retaliation for a prior incident involving Davis and another officer. McCusker and other correctional officers then entered Davis’ cell and assaulted the inmate while Steele and another officer watched the assault.
Later, Steele, McCusker and other officers met at a restaurant and agreed on a story to cover up their involvement in, or knowledge of, the midnight shift’s assault on Davis. On Feb. 12, 2013, Steele met with federal authorities and provided false information regarding the incident.
“The overwhelming majority of correctional officers serve their communities with honor and professionalism,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who engage in criminal misconduct.”
To date, 16 current or former officers at RCI have been convicted in connection with a series of assaults that Davis suffered on March 8-9, 2008. Four former RCI officers still await sentencing before Judge Bredar.
The case was investigated by the Frederick Resident Agency of the FBI, and prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.