Former Private Prisoner Transport Officer Sentenced to Life Plus Five Years for Sexually Assaulting Two Women in His Custody
A federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas, sentenced Eric Scott Kindley, 53, a former private prisoner transport officer, to life plus five years in prison for 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 sentence comes after a jury returned guilty verdicts on March 12, 2020, to all counts in the indictment. The evidence at trial established that Kindley operated his own private prisoner transport company that contracted with local jails throughout the country to transport individuals who were arrested on out-of-state warrants. Even though the indictment charged Kindley with only two sexual assaults that occurred within the jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Arkansas, the jury heard from six women who he transported between 2012 and 2017. All the women testified that Kindley transported them alone, sometimes for hundreds of miles. The women were all handcuffed and shackled. As Kindley drove the women to desolate locations, he threatened to kill them and made sexually explicit comments that escalated in intensity and depravity.
“Those who act under color of law and commit sexual assault cannot rely on their position of power or their victims’ vulnerabilities to escape accountability,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “While these crimes may be difficult to detect, a survivor’s account is evidence, will be taken seriously, an investigation will ensue, and, where appropriate, punishment will follow. We thank the survivors of these sexual assaults for having the courage to come forward despite the defendant’s repeated attempts to silence them. The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously hold accountable those who abuse their authority by committing sexual assault.”
“This sentence sends a clear message, that this abuse of power and disregard for individual’s basic rights cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Kaul of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. “The FBI commends the victims who bravely came forward to report Kindley's actions. We remain fully committed to protecting the rights of all citizens and appreciate the partnership of the other FBI Field Offices, U.S. Attorney's Offices, and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division during this investigation and prosecution."
One of the women listed in the indictment testified that when Kindley transported her from Alabama to Arizona in 2017, he stopped his van in a deserted area near Little Rock purportedly to allow her to urinate. There, he sexually assaulted her while she was handcuffed, threatened her with a firearm, and reminded her, as he did with other victims, that she was “an inmate in transport” and that no one would believe her if she reported what happened. Another woman listed in the indictment testified that when Kindley transported her in 2014, he stopped his van in a deserted area, also in Arkansas, under the guise of having gotten lost. There, he violently forced her to perform a sex act on him. A third woman testified that during her transport in 2013 from Florida to Texas, Kindley pulled his van over to the side of a dark road, both purportedly to let her urinate and under the guise of having gotten lost. There Kindley sexually assaulted her. A fourth woman testified that during her 2012 transport, from Nevada to California, Kindley stopped his van in a deserted hiking area. There, he forced her to perform a sex act on him in a park bathroom. A fifth woman testified that during her transport in 2013, from California to Montana, Kindley attempted to sexually assault her after he pulled over to the side of the road during a snowstorm. None of the women knew each other, and it was only during the trial that they learned the others existed.
According to court documents, the federal investigation into Kindley’s conduct began in January 2017, when two women, housed together in a small jail in Arizona, reported that Kindley sexually assaulted them during two separate transports. The years-long investigation thereafter uncovered 16 women whom the defendant subjected to some form of sexual misconduct during transport, often culminating in forceful sexual assault. During the sentencing hearing, the United States submitted victim impact statements from 11 women who Kindley transported, and two former domestic partners. The women described the corrosive impact of a person with power shattering their trust in law enforcement with vile words and acts. As one woman summed up, “I’m wary of government officials because of what Eric Kindley had said and [did] during my transport …The offender in this case used his so called ‘position of power’ to cause [me] to endure undue stress, grief, and loss of self-worth.”
Chief U.S. District Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. sentenced Kindley to life in prison plus five years and ordered that the defendant pay a total of $20,275 in restitution to the two victims listed in the indictment for mental health treatment and counseling for trauma.
This case was investigated by the Phoenix Division of the FBI with assistance from FBI field offices throughout the United States. It was 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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Arkansas and the District of Arizona.