Brooklyn federal prison guard pleads guilty to sexual abuse, bribery
A Brooklyn prison guard working at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Sunset Park pled guilty to charges including bribery, narcotics conspiracy and four counts of sexual abuse of a ward at the federal courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Armando Moronta, a 39-year-old Brooklyn resident, faces up to 20 years in prison on the top charge and 15 years for each bribery and sexual abuse charge. He also agreed to forfeit $15,000 in bribes that he received and will register as a sex offender.
“In a fundamental breach of his duties as a public servant, former federal correctional officer Moronta compromised the safety of the MDC by allowing inmates to have prohibited goods and abusing inmates sexually,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde. “This case serves as a reminder that correctional officers who would so compromise the wellbeing of their colleagues and charges will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The charges stem from two separate indictments. Moronta, who appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, was initially arrested on bribery and narcotics charges.
From March through December 2016, on approximately 12 occasions, Moronta smuggled cellphones and drugs, including synthetic narcotic “K2” and Suboxone, into MDC in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes, according to court documents.
Moronta was also found, between May and June of 2016, to have engaged in criminal sexual conduct with three female inmates that included having inmates perform oral sex on him while he was assigned to guard their unit.
“While the vast majority of law enforcement officers carry out their duties with honor and dignity, Moronta did not,” said William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director in charge at the FBI’s New York Field Office. “May this case serve as an example to anyone who dares to threaten the integrity of the law enforcement profession: Just because you’re awarded a badge of honor, it doesn’t mean you can hide behind the shield.”
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