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Case Number: 7:21-cr-00167-ACA-SGC
Judge: Annemarie Carney Axon
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (Jeffeson County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Birmingham, Alabama criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with one count of sexual abuse of a ward and one count of tampering with a witness.
According to court documents, on or about June 11, 2020, Ellis knowingly engaged in a sexual act with a female inmate, while in the back of the laundry room of the prison. At the time, Ellis was on-duty and acting in his capacity as a corrections officer. The female inmate was in official detention and under Ellis’s custodial authority. Ellis subsequently admitted his conduct to another corrections officer.
Thereafter, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) began investigating Ellis’s conduct. While that investigation was ongoing, Ellis made the following statements – on a recorded call – to that corrections officer (to whom he had previously admitted his conduct) in reference to the federal investigation and his conduct: “Just tell [the OIG agents], yeah, we’re friends, but, I mean, you hadn’t really talked to me about it. And when you have it’s – I’ve just told you that nothing happened.” Ellis admitted in the plea agreement that he made those statements because was attempting to persuade that other corrections officer to provide false information to OIG agents about his sexual abuse of the female inmate.
“Inmates detained inside jails and prisons have the right to be free from sexual assaults and sexually abusive behavior. The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable prison employees who exploit their positions of power to sexually abuse individuals in their custody, and then attempt to cover up their misconduct,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Corrections officers who commit sexual assault have no place inside the Bureau of Prisons, and we will continue to fight for justice for victims of these despicable crimes.”
“The Department of Justice strives to maintain a safe, secure, and supportive environment for prison inmates, and one that promotes the successful reentry of inmates into society,” said U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona. “My office works closely with the OIG and Civil Rights Division to investigate and prosecute any sexual abuse of inmates by prison employees.”
“Ellis sexually abused an inmate in his custody and then tried to coerce another correctional officer to help him cover up his crime. The DOJ Office of the Inspector General will continue to investigate and bring to justice anyone who engages in this kind of behavior,” said Special Agent in Charge James F. Boyersmith of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General Miami Field Office.
This case was investigated by the Atlanta Division of the OIG. Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Posey and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Mark of the Northern District of Alabama and Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold and Trial Attorney Anna Gotfryd of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice are prosecuting the case.
18:2242(b) SEX ABUSE OF ADULT WARD IN CUSTODY
18:1512(b)(3) INTIMIDATION OR FORCE AGAINST WITNESS
Outcome: Former Bureau of Prisons Corrections Officer Pleaded Guilty to Sexually Abusing an Inmate and Witness Tampering.
07/20/2021 12 GUILTY PLEA ADVICE OF RIGHTS CERTIFICATION by Eric Todd Ellis. (SAC) (Entered: 07/20/2021)
07/20/2021 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Annemarie Carney Axon: Change of Plea Hearing as to Eric Todd Ellis held on 7/20/2021. Present: Deft, FPD Allison Case, AUSA Robing Mark, Special Agent Alex Chirinos. Deft sworn, Plea entered by Eric Todd Ellis (1) Guilty as to Counts 1 & 2, court accepts the plea as free & voluntary; sentencing to be set by separate order; deft continued on same bond; ct adj. (Court Reporter Margaret Wasmund) (SAC) (Entered: 07/20/2021)
07/20/2021 13 ORDER as to Eric Todd Ellis - The court sets Sentencing for October 26, 2021, 10:15 AM, Courtroom 6B, Hugo L Black US Courthouse, Birmingham, AL before Judge Annemarie Carney Axon. Signed by Judge Annemarie Carney Axon on 7/20/21. (SAC) (Entered: 07/20/2021)