Former prison guard pleads guilty to assaulting inmate, possessing child pornography

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Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:14 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A former Missouri prison guard pleaded guilty to assaulting an inmate and possessing child pornography on Tuesday.

Carl Hart, 37, of Farmington, worked as a sergeant at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre when he assaulted an inmate on Oct. 28, 2021.

According to the office of the U.S. Attorney, Hart was having a verbal disagreement with an inmate and had ordered that inmate out of his office. Hart is then accused of pepper-spraying the victim alone with two other corrections officers. The victim then went to the showers to wash off the spray, and he was hit by Hart while there. The victim then was hit again after leaving the shower while he was on the ground, handcuffed and compliant.

Hart’s plea states, " The victim suffered lacerations on his head, swelling on his face, a black eye, numb arms and rib pain that continues to this day.”

In a separate investigation conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and assisted by the Missouri Highway Patrol Digital Forensics Unit, child pornography was found in a Dropbox account and on one of his phones.

Hart pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of possession of child pornography. The deprivation of rights charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Each of the child pornography charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Hart also faces child pornography charges in the St. Francois County Circuit Court.

Hart is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 24.