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Former Wilson County, Tennessee Corrections Officer Sentenced
to Life in Prison on Civil Rights-Related Charges

WASHINGTON — Former Wilson County, Tenn., corrections officer Patrick Marlowe was sentenced to life imprisonment today on charges relating to violations of the civil rights of inmates at the Wilson County Jail in Lebanon, Tenn., announced Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Wan J. Kim, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Jim Vines, and Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation My Harrison.

“It is appalling that an officer would engage in a concerted scheme to violently abuse those entrusted to his custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kim. “Those who abuse their position of trust are a stain on the vast majority of law enforcement officers who perform honorably under danger and difficult circumstances. The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the criminal civil rights laws.”

Marlowe was the supervisory corrections officer on the evening shift of the Wilson County Jail from 2001 to early 2003. He and fellow former officer Shane Conatser were convicted at trial of conspiring to violate the rights of inmates at the jail under 18 U.S.C. § 241 by assaulting and depriving them of medical care. Marlowe also was convicted of six separate counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 242 by violating the civil rights of inmates at the jail by assaulting them or denying them medical care. These counts included convictions for assaulting inmate Walter Kuntz and for causing his death by denying him medical care after he was assaulted by Marlowe and another jailer.

In addition to Marlowe, seven other former Wilson County corrections officers have been convicted and sentenced on felony charges relating to violations of the civil rights of inmates at the Wilson County Jail.

In announcing the sentencing, Assistant Attorney General Kim commended the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the District Attorney General’s Office for the Fifteenth Judicial District for their involvement in this investigation and prosecution of alleged civil rights violations at the Wilson County Jail.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. Since FY 2001, the Division has convicted 30 percent more defendants in official misconduct prosecutions than in the preceding five fiscal years.