Charges: Bribed guard let inmates out for sex, drugs in

A correctional officer at the federal prison in Terre Haute has been charged with taking bribes to look the other way as inmates left the grounds for sex, and to allow drugs, cellphones and other contraband into the facility.

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler on Tuesday announced federal criminal charges against Bureau of Prisons correctional officer Leon Perry III, 41, of Linton. Perry was arrested and faces charges included conspiracy for an officer to permit escape, conspiracy to bribe public officials, officer permitting escape, public official accepting a bribe, and providing contraband in a prison.

Perry is accused of accepting cash bribes to agree to be at a different part of the facility grounds while inmates left the facility and went with women to nearby hotels. Perry also is accused of accepting bribes — including cash and prescription medication — to allow prisoners to have sex with unauthorized visitors on prison grounds and to allow contraband including cellphones, controlled substances and alcohol into the facility. 

“Mr. Perry put the safety and welfare of the inmates, correctional officers, the institution and the entire Terre Haute community in jeopardy by allowing this to occur,” said Minkler. “He allowed greed and power to betray the confidence we place in prison officials.”

The Federal Correctional Institution is a medium-security prison for men operated by the Bureau of Prisons. Adjacent to the FCI is a minimum-security satellite camp, with no perimeter fencing, commonly referred to as “the Camp,” where Perry’s alleged crimes were committed. Inmates at the Camp are generally permitted to roam the grounds but are forbidden from leaving without prior approval.

Perry worked as the Reservation Patrol Officer at the Federal Prison Camp and was responsible for patrolling the prison grounds to prevent escape attempts. This included challenging unauthorized vehicles or persons who are on the grounds and maintaining overall security of the facility. Perry served as a correctional officer at the BOP for about 10 years. 

 “Corruption by law enforcement officers in any facet of their work won’t be tolerated,” said W. Jay Abbott, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “The illegal actions by the few corrupt officers undermine the public’s confidence in the majority of law enforcement officers who are trustworthy public servants.”

“Greed and corruption have no place in our criminal justice system,” stated Special Agent in Charge John F. Oleskowicz of the DOJ Office of the Inspector General’s Chicago Field Office. “We want to thank our law enforcement partners for their assistance in ensuring that correctional officers who abuse their position are vigorously investigated and prosecuted.”

This case was investigated by the FBI, the DOJ Office of the Inspector General and the BOP Special Investigative Services. 

Perry faces up to 15 years imprisonment if convicted on all counts.

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