US prison guard convicted in WVa of lying about inmate abuse

September 15, 2022 GMT

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A federal correctional officer in West Virginia has been convicted of lying to an investigator about inmate abuse.

A jury in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg found William Lewis guilty on Tuesday of two counts of making a false statement to a federal agent.

Lewis was a correctional officer at the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton. It’s the same prison where Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed in 2018, although there’s no indication Lewis had any connection to his death. Bulger was the third inmate killed at the prison over a six-month period.

Prosecutors said that after Lewis initially reported that excessive force was being used against inmates in a special housing unit, he denied during an interview with a federal investigator that such abuses had occurred.

In addition, Lewis, 34, of Elkins, was found to have falsely told the investigator that he “never told anybody” that he had “seen officers going too far.” Prosecutors said Lewis previously stated that prison staff were assaulting inmates and ultimately might kill one of them.

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Lewis was acquitted of a third false statement count.

The Exponent Telegram reported Lewis made the false statements during a meeting with the investigator in August 2020.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. No sentencing date was immediately set.