Clay County Jail Administrator Pleads Guilty To Sex Abuse Charge - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Clay County Jail Administrator Pleads Guilty To Sex Abuse Charges

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A former jail administrator of the Clay County Detention Center pleaded guilty to group of sexual abuse charges Wednesday.  A federal grand jury indicted Jeffrey Scott Cotney, 48, of Ashland in November.  Cotney entered his guilty plea on four counts of violating the civil rights of inmates by using his authority to sexually abuse inmates and deny them of their constitutional rights, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr. on Thursday. 

Investigators say the abuse occurred between May of 2009 and spring of 2010, involving four inmates at the Clay County Detention Center.  The FBI and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.  A federal grand jury indicted him back in November.  

In his plea, Cotney admitted to forcing 'Inmate Number One' to submit to a sexual act on four occasions. The former jail administrator says these incidents took place at his home three times and once on a road trip to Oxford.

Cotney also admitted to forcing 'Inmate Number Two' to submit to a strip search without lawful justification.

Cotney said he frequently grabbed and touched 'Inmate Number 3' in an inappropriate nature. He also admitted to falsely telling the inmate that he needed to check the inmate's tattoos, then ordering him to completely undress. The inmate had tattoos on his legs, chest, hipbones, arms and groin, and Cotney says he touched all of the inmate's tattoos.

In the case of 'Inmate Number Four', Cotney admitted to retaliating against the man for rejecting a sexual proposition.  According to the plea agreement, Cotney falsely accusing the prisoner of having contraband, ordered him into lockdown for 45 days, and then had him transferred to a state prison.

By pleading guilty to four of the eight charges in the indictment, Cotney could face one year in prison on each of the four counts.

As part of Cotney's plea agreement with the government, he must register as a sex offender, surrender all current law enforcement licenses and certifications and neither seek nor hold a law enforcement job or one where he would have custodial authority over others, including as a correctional or probation officer or bail bondsman.

Jeffrey Scott Cotney is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27.








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