Three former and two current employees of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office have pleaded guilty to their roles in beating inmates at the Iberia Parish Jail, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Robert E. Burns, 46, of Youngsville; Byron Benjamin Lassalle, 34, of Erath; Wade Bergeron, 40, of Milton; Bret Klein Broussard, 35, of Broussard; and Wesley Hayes, 36, of St. Martinville, each pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of deprivation of civil rights.
Lassalle and Hayes also pleaded guilty to one count of civil rights conspiracy.
The guilty pleas apparently are part of a broader probe of the operation of the parish jail.
In April, Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal confirmed to The Advocate that federal authorities subpoenaed a videotape showing an Iberia Parish corrections officer — David Prejean, who has since been fired — hitting and kicking a prone inmate with the help of a police dog in 2012.
An Advocate report in May pointed to complaints filed by inmates and settled civil lawsuits alleging a wide array of misconduct by Sheriff’s Office employees, with the office settling with least 10 plaintiffs since 2008, when Ackal took office. Those payments came to nearly $1.1 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in its news release, did not indicate the circumstances surrounding the pleas entered Tuesday.
Lassalle and Broussard are currently employed by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. The other three defendants no longer work there.
Each of the defendants, except Burns, faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. Burns faces one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. They all face three years of supervised release.