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Press Release

Three Kentucky Correctional Officers Indicted for Assaulting Inmates and Attempting to Cover it Up

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Three federal correctional officers — two officers and a lieutenant — have been indicted by a federal grand jury in London, Kentucky, for their respective roles in assaults against two inmates and subsequent cover-ups, announced Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Special Agent in Charge William J. Hannah of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s Chicago Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of FBI Louisville. 

Officers Samuel Patrick, 41, and Clinton Pauley, 40, were indicted for assaulting one inmate and attempting to cover it up, and Lieutenant Kevin Pearce, 37, was also indicted for helping cover up that assault. Officer Pauley was also charged with assaulting a second inmate and attempting to cover up that assault.

The indictment alleges that, on April 29, 2021, defendants Patrick and Pauley, who were officers at the U.S. Penitentiary-Big Sandy, physically assaulted an inmate, identified in the indictment as C.T., violating that inmate’s constitutional rights. The indictment also alleges that the assault resulted in bodily injury, and that defendants Patrick and Pauley, as well as a supervisory officer, Lieutenant Pearce, attempted to cover up the assault by writing false reports. The indictment also charges defendants Patrick and Pearce with witness tampering based on their efforts to pressure a fellow correctional officer to write an untruthful report that omitted the assault.

The indictment further alleges that, on March 26, 2021, defendant Pauley physically assaulted a different inmate, identified in the indictment as N.D., who was being escorted away from the prison’s lieutenants’ office at Big Sandy, and that the assault resulted in bodily injury. The indictment also charges that defendant Pauley attempted to cover up the assault of N.D. by writing a false report.

The maximum penalties for the charged crimes are 10 years of imprisonment for the assault offenses, and 20 years of imprisonment for each of the witness tampering and false report offenses.

The Office of the Inspector General and the FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Dembo for the Eastern District of Kentucky is prosecuting the case in partnership with Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Civil Rights Division. 

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 27, 2022

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 22-565