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Press Release

Former Prisoner Transport Officer Convicted of Sexual Assault of Two Woman in His Custody and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of His Sexual Assault

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, found Eric Scott Kindley, 52, a private prisoner transport officer, guilty of sexually assaulting two different women in his custody during two different transports in 2014 and 2017, and for knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of the 2017 sexual assault.

“The defendant was a prison transport officer who abused his law enforcement authority by sexually assaulting prisoners entrusted to his custody.  That is a federal crime, and the Department of Justice will vigorously investigate and prosecute law enforcement officers who unlawfully use their position to abuse those in their custody,”   said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “Today’s conviction was made possible by the brave women who testified about their abuse, and the tireless work of federal investigators and prosecutors over the last three years.”

"Kindley took advantage of his authority to exploit the very people he was entrusted with transporting across the country,” said Sean Kaul, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. “We commend the many victims, across the nation, who came forward to report this despicable crime. This conviction should serve as notice that anyone who uses their authority to exploit individuals in their custody, will be held accountable and the FBI will continue to aggressively pursue these types of cases. We would like to thank the FBI agents across the country whose tireless efforts helped bring Kindley to justice and the Department of Justice for their tremendous work on this case.”

Evidence at trial showed that Kindley operated a private prisoner transport company that contracted with local jails throughout the country to transport individuals who were arrested on out-of-state warrants. Kindley transported individuals alone, without any oversight, in his unmarked white minivan, often for hundreds of miles. The jury heard from six women whom he transported between 2013 and 2017, all of whom described Kindley’s pattern of conduct. Kindley transported them alone over long distances, handcuffed and shackled in the backseat of the van. Kindley forced them to listen to sexually explicit comments that escalated in intensity and depravity. Some women dealt with the comments by trying to make a joke of it; others attempted to talk back and end the comments, while others sat silently. In each instance, Kindley drove to desolate locations, putting the women in fear of being sexually assaulted, severely hurt, or worse.   

One of those women testified at trial that when Kindley transported her Alabama to Arizona in 2017, he stopped his van in a deserted area near Little Rock and sexually assaulted her while she was handcuffed, reminding her, as he did with other victims that she was “an inmate in transport” and that no one would believe her if she reported her. A second woman testified that when Kindley transported her in 2014, he stopped his van in a deserted area, also in Arkansas, and forced her to perform a sex act on him. A third woman testified that during her transport by Kindley in 2013 from Florida to Texas, he pulled his van over on the side of a dark road and sexually assaulted her. A fourth woman also testified that during her  2012 transport by from Nevada to California, Kindley stopped his van in a deserted park. He forced her to perform a sex act on him in a park bathroom. A fifth woman testified that during her 2013 transport from California to Montana, Kindley attempted to sexually assault her after he pulled over on the side of the road during a snowstorm. The jury heard testimony that none of the women who testified knew one another.

Kindley is also under indictment in the Central District of California for committing similar offenses related to his sexual assault of two other women in his custody in 2012 and 2017, and for brandishing a firearm during one of the sexual assaults. One of those women testified at this trial.

Kindley faces a maximum of life in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

This case is being investigated by the Phoenix Division of the FBI with assistance from FBI field offices throughout the United States. It is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold and Trial Attorney Maura White of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, with assistance from the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Arkansas and the District of Arizona.

Updated April 7, 2020

Topic
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 20-313