The Justice Department announced today that U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Correction Officers (CO) William Houghton, 32, and Eddie Rodas-Castro, 32, have pleaded guilty in connection with the beating of a federal inmate and the subsequent submission of false reports.
Houghton pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of an inmate inside the Coleman Correctional Facility in Coleman, Florida, by striking the inmate repeatedly in the head and face on March 22, 2014. Houghton also pleaded guilty to submitting two false reports in connection with the incident, falsely stating the inmate had attempted to assault him and omitting the fact that Houghton had repeatedly punched the inmate.
Rodas-Castro pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying official reports, for his role in submitting a false report in an effort to cover up Houghton’s abuse.
“Conduct by corrections officers who abuse their power to violate the civil rights of those in their custody and lie about their actions undermines our criminal justice system,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to holding officers who engage in such criminal acts accountable.”
The defendants were both indicted on June 17, 2015. Sentencing for both defendants will be scheduled at a later date. Houghton faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison. Rodas-Castro faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, and prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jared Fishman and Maura White of the Civil Right Division’s Criminal Section.