Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under scrutiny for treatment of inmates, others in custody _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by Bryan Tuck -- Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, center, speaks to the media in 2008 while conducting a tour of the Parish Jail's laundry room.

Another Iberia Parish sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in a 2011 jail beating that’s been central to another eight deputies’ guilty pleas and the indictments of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal and his second-in-command, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

Jeremy Hatley, a sergeant in the canine unit at the time of the incident, admitted to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of making a false statement to the FBI, according to his plea agreement in federal court.

Hatley looked on while a narcotics agent assaulted an inmate — placing his flashlight between his legs and forcing it into the inmate’s mouth, mimicking fellatio — inside the parish jail’s camera-less chapel, according to the agreement.

When the FBI questioned Hatley in December about whether he witnessed beatings inside the chapel, he said “he had never seen any detainees abused in the chapel,” the document states.

Hatley faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted of providing a false statement and one year in prison and $100,000 in fines if convicted of the deprivation of rights count.

Meanwhile, Ackal and Lt. Col. Gerald Savoy will each face arraignment on Thursday in federal court in Lafayette.

Ackal faces one count of conspiracy against rights and two counts of deprivation of rights under the color of law, and Savoy faces one count of civil rights conspiracy and one count of deprivation of rights. Both men are accused of a supervisory role in the beatings.

Each man faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

Deputies who have pleaded guilty attested in their plea agreements that supervisors instructed them to take the men to the jail chapel, where there were no security cameras, to be punished by force. Some of those deputies admitted to lying during depositions in the civil lawsuits that followed.

While most of the guilty pleas have been related to the April 2011 assaults, which occurred as part of a larger contraband sweep at the jail, some guards also were implicated in a beating of an inmate in September of that year.

Another plea came from a deputy who said a person identified in court documents only as a “high-ranking” sheriff’s official sent him to an apartment in New Iberia to exact revenge.

Deputy David Hines said he was directed to find and assault the man because a high-ranking Sheriff’s Office official believed the man had attacked one of his relatives, according to his plea agreement.

Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.