Two state prison guards were hit Thursday with stiff sentences of more than 7 and 8 years in White Plains federal court for the brutal 2013 assault at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill of an inmate whose dreadlocks were allegedly torn off as a “trophy.”
Federal prosecutors based in Manhattan took over the case in 2016 after local prosecutors in Dutchess County were unable to build a case against the guards, who beat inmate Kevin Moore after a dispute broke out over his cell assignment and he yelled, “I’m a monster.”
Guard George Santiago, 36, of Fremont Center, was sentenced to 87 months for helping restrain Moore on the floor, punching him, delivering a “soccer style” kick to his face, taking dreadlocks torn from Moore’s head as a trophy, and taunting him afterward, saying “Who’s the monster now?”
Kathy Scott, 42, of Saugerties, a sergeant and the supervising officer on the scene, was sentenced to 100 months for failing to intervene and later coordinating a cover-up with Santiago and other officers in which they made up a story that Moore had attacked one of the guards and hit one guard in the back.
Moore, according to the government, suffered multiple facial fractures, five broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and had to be hospitalized for 17 days.
“Kathy Scott and George Santiago participated in a vicious beating of inmate Kevin Moore within an inch of his life,” said Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District. “Then they concocted a phony story to hide what they did. … The U.S. Constitution protects all of us, including those in prison.”
Richard Willstatter, an attorney for Scott, said, “We are disappointed in the court’s decision, but Kathy Scott maintains she is not guilty and intends to appeal the conviction and sentence imposed today.”
Santiago also “continues to maintain his innocence and will appeal the jury verdict and sentence,” said his attorney, Daniel Hocheiser.
Both defendants, who were convicted last year of violating Moore’s civil rights and falsifying records, were ordered by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas to surrender in September, their lawyers said.
An attorney for Moore, who pursued a civil lawsuit, did not respond to a call for comment.
Three other guards who pleaded guilty in the assault have not yet been sentenced.