BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A former sergeant at the correctional center in Bonne Terre, Missouri, admitted Tuesday to possession of child pornography and assaulting a prisoner in unrelated cases.
Carl Hart, 37, pleaded guilty to two counts of child pornography and one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law in U.S. District Court Tuesday.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming, the deprivation of rights charge stems from an Oct. 28, 2021, incident at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre.
The release said Hart and an inmate got into an argument in Hart's office. Hart told the inmate to leave, and when the inmate did not immediately return to his cell, two other corrections officers pepper-sprayed him.
Hart admitted to beating the man while he was in the shower washing off the spray. He also admitted to beating the man again after he left the shower and was on the ground in handcuffs.
The release said the man suffered multiple injuries, including rib pain that remains ongoing for the victim.
In a separate investigation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children investigated a tip about child pornography on Hart's Dropbox account. The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated and found child pornography on his Dropbox account and one of his phones.
Hart could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the deprivation of rights charge. The child pornography charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Sentencing is set for August 24.
He also faces child pornography charges in St. Francois County Circuit Court. He was also named in a lawsuit alleging prison guards pepper sprayed Muslim men while they were praying.
To report a crime to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, visit their CyberTipline online.
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