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Press Release

Former Georgia Prison Guard Sentenced in Connection with Sexual Assaults of Female Inmates and Bomb Threat

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department today announced that former Georgia prison guard Edgar Daniel Johnson, 51, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for sexually assaulting three female inmates at the Emanuel Women’s Facility in Swainsboro, Georgia; for coercing the women to help him cover up the assaults; and for making a bomb threat at Elba Island on a separate occasion, in May, 2017. The Court will determine the amount of restitution owed to the victims at a later hearing.

In Oct. 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 Nov. 1, 2012, and Sept. 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 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.

Johnson also admitted that on May 3, 2017, in an unrelated matter, he used a cellular telephone to call Southside Fire in Chatham County, Georgia, and falsely report a bomb threat at Elba Island.  Johnson admitted that at the time he called in the bomb threat, he maliciously conveyed the threat even though he knew the threat to be false.

“This defendant abused his legal authority to prey on vulnerable women who had been entrusted to his care,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the rights of all individuals, and will hold law enforcement officers who violate the law accountable.”

“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 Bobby L. Christine.

“Corrections officials have a difficult and important job, but we cannot allow them to abuse their authority and assault the very people they are charged with supervising," said J.C. Hacker, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "The FBI will not allow the actions of a few to tarnish the many corrections officials who do their job every day, maintaining order and respecting the law."

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 Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Updated June 11, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-762