Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Former Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Two Handcuffed Inmates at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center

WASHINGTON – Adrian Almodovar III, a former correctional officer at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, pleaded guilty in federal court today to unlawfully assaulting two handcuffed inmates and to failing to stop other correctional officers from assaulting one of the inmates.

“The Justice Department will hold correctional officers accountable to the public by investigating and prosecuting officers who inflict cruel and unusual punishment on inmates,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting victims of these abuses and upholding the Constitution and laws that protect us all.”

 “This officer chose to engage in criminal activity and by doing so dishonored himself and the countless honorable corrections officers who undertake difficult and dangerous work in our penal institutions every day - for that, he was held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Fremin. “We will remain steadfast in upholding our obligation to protect the civil rights of others and will hold accountable those, like Mr. Almodovar, who abuse their authority. I want to thank the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Office of the Louisiana Inspector General for their efforts in bringing this offender to justice.”

“The integrity of the entire system is threatened when those entrusted with power and authority choose to violate that trust. It is especially egregious when it happens in the corrections system,” said Louisiana Inspector General Stephen Street. “All who engage in this criminal behavior should know that significant criminal consequences will result. The Louisiana OIG remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure this.”

"Placed in a position of public trust at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility, Adrian Almodovar III abused defenseless inmates, discredited our justice system, and tarnished the image of countless good officers. The FBI remains committed to upholding the Constitution and protecting the civil rights of all persons," said Eric J. Rommal, FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge.

Almodovar, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of willfully depriving the inmates of their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Information presented during the plea hearing established that Almodovar assaulted inmate J.H. multiple times on Jan. 9, 2017, by punching him in the face. During all of these assaults, inmate J.H. was restrained in handcuffs and was not offering any resistance. Later that day, Almodovar also punched inmate L.B. in the head. During this assault, inmate L.B. was also restrained in handcuffs and was not offering any resistance.

During the plea hearing, Almodovar admitted he was aware at the time of these assaults that he did not have any legal justification for using force on the inmates but did so anyway. Almodovar also admitted that he witnessed other correctional officers assaulting inmate J.H. on two separate occasions and failed to intervene to stop them, despite knowing he had a duty to protect inmates from unlawful assaults.  Two other correctional officers have previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the assaults on inmate J.H.

Almodovar faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Baton Rouge Resident Agency Office and the Louisiana Office of the State Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Zachary Dembo of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
19-83
Updated February 7, 2019