CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A correctional officer from the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton has been convicted of lying about alleged abuse to inmates, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.
William Lewis, 34, of Elkins, West Virginia, was found guilty by a jury on Tuesday of two counts of “False Statement to Federal Agent.” After initially reporting that excessive force was being used against inmates in the special housing unit, Lewis denied that it had occurred during an interview with a federal investigator. He was also found to have falsely told the investigator that he had “never told anybody” that he had “seen officers going too far” after previously stating that staff were assaulting inmates and might ultimately kill an inmate.
Lewis was acquitted of a third count, which also charged him with making a false statement.
Lewis faces up to 5 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Cogar prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. The Department of Justice – Office of Inspector General investigated.
Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Kleeh presided.