AYER — Two correctional officers at a federal prison in the state have been arrested and charged with injuring an inmate and obstruction of evidence, according to federal prosecutors.
Seth M. Bourget, 39, of Woodstock, CT, a Senior Corrections Officer and Lt. Joseph Lavorato, 51, of Wilmington, Massachusetts appeared in federal court in Boston on Thursday afternoon to answer to charges stemming from an investigation into an attack on an inmate at U.S. Bureau Prisons Federal Medical Center in Devens last June.
Bourget was indicted on two counts of deprivation of civil rights, while Lavorato was indicted on obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction and falsification of records in a federal investigation.
According to prosecutors, Bourget allegedly dropped his knee on an unidentified inmate’s head while handcuffed and restrained on the floor in the mental health housing unit, resulting in bodily injury on June 18, 2019. Bourget also allegedly struck the handcuffed inmate with a protective shield in a locked cell, resulting in further injuries, per CBS.
Lavorato is accused of failing to accurately report the nature of the injuries and intentionally destroying a video of the incident, stating the security camera was not operational due to a dead battery.
“The alleged use of excessive force by Correctional Officer Bourget toward an inmate and the alleged follow-up actions and poor judgment of Lieutenant Lavorato in attempting to cover up the incident are extremely troubling. This kind of conduct directly contradicts the oath that federal Correctional Officers take – to serve and protect, and to uphold the law,” said Guido Modano, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice.
If convicted, Bourget could face up to 10 years in prison while Lavorato could potentially see up to 20 years.
“Great power and responsibility are sewn into a Bureau of Prisons uniform. But that uniform and the oath taken by those who wear it is not a license to use excessive force on a vulnerable prisoner, or to allegedly cover up a subordinate’s reprehensible behavior by attempting to destroy evidence of that abuse,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
Both men were released pending their arraignment in federal court on February 13.
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