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Press Release

Former Missouri Prison Guard Admits Assaulting Inmate, Possession of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – A former Missouri prison guard pleaded guilty to federal charges Tuesday and admitted assaulting an inmate and possessing child pornography.  

Carl Hart, 37, of Farmington, was a sergeant in the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre at the time of the Oct. 28, 2021 assault. After a verbal disagreement with an inmate who is the victim in the case, Hart ordered the victim out of his office. When the victim did not immediately return to his cell, two other corrections officers pepper-sprayed him. The victim went to the showers to wash off the spray. Hart admitted striking the victim in the shower and again after the victim had left the shower and was on the ground, handcuffed and compliant. The victim suffered lacerations on his head, swelling on his face, a black eye, numb arms and rib pain that continues to this day, Hart’s plea says.

In a separate investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a tip about suspected child pornography in Hart’s Dropbox account. The Missouri Highway Patrol Digital Forensics Unit investigated and found child pornography in Dropbox and on one of his phones, Hart admitted in his plea agreement.

Hart pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of possession of child pornography. The civil rights charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Each child pornography charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hart is scheduled to be sentenced on August 24.

He also faces child pornography charges in St. Francois County Circuit Court.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Krug is prosecuting the case.

Updated May 23, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Civil Rights