Valdosta State Prison

Four former Valdosta State Prison employees were sentenced this week for beating an inmate in 2018.

VALDOSTA — Four former Valdosta prison officers were sentenced in federal court this week for the beating of a handcuffed inmate and an attempt to hide the incident, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lt. Geary Staten, 31, Sgt. Patrick Sharpe, 30, and Deputy Correctional Officers Brian Ford, 25, and Jamal Scott, 35, were sentenced for a beating that took place Dec. 29, 2018, the justice department said in a statement. Sharpe was also sentenced for a separate beating.

Staten was sentenced to 14 months in prison, Sharpe to 48 months, Scott to 12 months and Ford to 12 months and a day, according to the statement. Scott and Ford received lesser sentences in view of their cooperation with the government investigation of the beating, according to federal authorities.

According to court documents, while Staten was on duty as a supervisory correctional officer at Valdosta State Prison, several correctional officers unlawfully used force on an inmate only identified as “F.G.”

Sharpe, while on duty, instructed his subordinate officers – Ford and Scott – to assault a handcuffed inmate in retaliation for an earlier altercation between that inmate and a female officer at the prison, the justice department said.

Staten was aware of the assault but instead of reporting the violations to law enforcement, he took steps to conceal the offense by telling Ford, Scott and Sharpe not to write any report to prison officials or any other corrections officials regarding the incident, as well as failing to write such a report himself despite knowing such a report was required, according to the statement.

All four pleaded guilty to federal offenses in connection with the incident.

Sharpe was also sentenced for his part in an earlier inmate beating that took place Sept. 24, 2018, again involving a handcuffed prisoner who had been involved in an altercation with a different female officer, according to the statement.

Terry Richards is the senior reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times.

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