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Ricky Bernard, a former Bureau of Prisons corrections officer at the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for engaging in sexual misconduct with three inmates. Bernard previously pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to federal civil rights charges.

At his guilty plea on Oct. 20, 2006, Bernard admitted that on numerous occasions he had sexual contact with inmates under his supervision while on duty as a Bureau of Prisons officer in 2003 and 2004. Bernard also admitted that he subsequently lied about the sexual misconduct with inmates to federal law enforcement officers, including by sworn affidavit.

“Sexual misconduct by an officer is very disturbing,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. “When law enforcement officials violate the law and the public trust, we will not hesitate to prosecute them.”

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as those laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights prosecutions. In the past six fiscal years, as compared to the previous six years, the Criminal Section filed 25 percent more color of law cases, charged 15 percent more defendants, and obtained convictions of 50 percent more defendants.

The investigation was spearheaded by Special Agent Monte Carson of the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Karima Maloney and Jennifer Dominguez prosecuted this case.

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