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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 5, 2019

Corrupt Terre Haute Federal Correctional Officer Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison

Perry accepted bribes from inmates in exchange for allowing inmates to escape from prison and smuggle contraband into the prison

TERRE HAUTE – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Leon Perry III, 43, Linton, Indiana, was sentenced today in federal court, by U.S. District Judge James P. Hanlon, to 30 months in federal prison, after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy for officer to permit escape, conspiracy to bribe public officials, officer permitting escape, and public official accepting a bribe.

"Correctional Officers are entrusted to keep the prison and inmates at the facility safe," said Minkler. "Perry not only violated the public’s trust for his own selfish greed, but also threatened the safety of prison employees, inmates, and the Terre Haute community."

Perry worked as a Reservation Patrol Officer at the Federal Prison Camp in Terre Haute, Indiana, and had served as a correctional officer at the Bureau of Prisons for approximately 10 years. Perry was responsible for the security of the prison, which included patrolling the prison grounds to prevent and stop any escape attempts.

While employed at the Camp, Perry accepted bribes from inmates in the form of cash, prescription medication, and other items. In exchange, Perry allowed inmates to leave the prison grounds without permission from the Warden, to have sexual relations with their girlfriends, wives, and other female acquaintances on prison grounds and at nearby hotels, and to smuggle contraband into the prison, including cellular telephones, controlled substances, and alcohol.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and the BOP Special Investigative Services.

"This sentence sends a strong message that corruption by law enforcement officers will not be tolerated. These illegal actions undermine the public's confidence in the majority of law enforcement officers who are trustworthy public servants," said Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall, FBI Indianapolis. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work diligently to ensure that correctional officers who abuse their position are identified, investigated and prosecuted."

"By accepting bribes in exchange for turning a blind eye to inmates leaving the prison and bringing in dangerous contraband, Perry placed inmates, his fellow Correctional Officers, and the public in harm’s way," said William J. Hannah, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle M. Sawa, who prosecuted this case for the government, Perry will serve two years’ supervised release following his prison sentence.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s priority of investigating and prosecuting public corruption, including those individuals the public trusts to enforce the law in this State and District. This prosecution also shows the Office’s firm commitment maintaining the safety of the employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as well as the safety of the prisoner population. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 5.3 and 2.5.

Updated December 6, 2019