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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Former Georgia Prison Guard Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault of Female Inmates, Obstruction, and Maliciously Conveying False Information About Explosives

Former Georgia prison guard Edgar Daniel Johnson, 51, pleaded guilty on Monday to sexually assaulting three female inmates at the Emanuel Women’s Facility in Swainsboro, Georgia, and to coercing the women to help him cover up the assaults.  Johnson also pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat at Elba Island on a separate occasion, in May 2017.  Johnson pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Georgia to three counts of willfully depriving the inmates of their Eighth Amendment rights under color of law, three counts of obstruction for coercing the women to cover up the assaults, and one count of maliciously conveying false information about explosive materials. 


During the plea hearing, Johnson admitted that, between November 1, 2012, and September 30, 2013, while he was working as a Georgia Department of Corrections prison guard at the Emanuel Women’s Facility, he engaged in non-consensual vaginal intercourse on more than one occasion with female inmates S.A., M.A., and M.P.  Johnson further admitted that each act of intercourse was against the inmate’s will and violated the inmate’s right under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, which includes the right to be free from unwanted sexual assaults.  Johnson further admitted that he coerced each of the inmates to cover up the assaults after the fact to help him avoid detection by investigators.  Johnson also admitted that on May 3, 2017, he used a cellular telephone to call Southside Fire Department in Chatham County, Georgia and falsely report a bomb threat at Elba Island. 


“This defendant abused his legal authority to prey on vulnerable women who had been entrusted to his care.  His actions undermine the rule of law and the well-being of our communities,” said John Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is committed to protecting the constitutional and civil rights of all individuals, and will hold law enforcement officers accountable to their oath to uphold the Constitution.”


 “No one is above the law, and the criminal actions of this former prison guard compel a strong rebuke. Anyone who chooses to prey on others under color of official right should expect federal prosecution and jail,” said United States Attorney R. Brian Tanner. 


This case was investigated by the FBI’s Augusta Resident Agency with assistance from the Georgia Department of Corrections and the District Attorney’s Office for Swainsboro, Georgia.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara Lyons and Matthew Josephson of the Southern District of Georgia and Trial Attorney Risa Berkower of the Civil Rights Division.


Press Release Number: 
Updated October 4, 2017