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Maryland correctional officer helped cover up inmate beating, Feds say

January 22, 2013

Ryan Lohr, a correctional officer at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, was charged Jan. 18 in Maryland U.S. District Court with a single count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and destroy evidence, according to court documents. Lohr, 26*, is accused of participating in a cover-up of an inmate beating that occurred at RCI in March, 2008.

According to The Washington Examiner‘s Scott McCabe, who posted a story about the case last night, Lohr is the ninth person charged in connection with the beating and alleged cover-up, and none of the other eight have been convicted. McCabe identifies the inmate-victim as Kenneth Davis, serving a 19-year sentence for armed robbery, who was hospitalized after receiving four beatings at RCI in a 24-hour period.

Lohr is charged with a criminal information, a document that is filed in court with the defendant’s consent in lieu of a grand-jury indictment, and often is followed by a guilty plea. The four-page document uses initials, rather than full names, when identifying the inmate-victim – “KD” – and Lohr’s alleged co-conspirators, who include “Officer TH” and “Supervisor ES.”

According to the criminal information, on March 9, 2008, Lohr “opened the door to inmate KD’s cell to allow other correctional officers to assault inmate KD in retaliation” for “a previous attack on an officer.” Lohr “watched from the cell door as correctional officers entered the cell and beat inmate KD,” striking him “on his head, face, and body with fists and kicks.” Starting on the day of the beating, and up until Nov. 2012, Lohr and “other known RCI correctional officers and supervisors” conspired to obstruct justice and destroy evidence about the assault, the document says, by providing investigators with “false and misleading information” and “cover[ing] up other information in order to ensure their roles … would not be discovered” so that they would be “shielded from liability.”

After Lohr and the others realized there would be an investigation, they met and “agreed to provide investigators with false information to cover up the assault,” the document says, adding that “at one meeting, Officer TH said the group should tell investigators that they did not see, hear, or do anything.” Immediately after the assault, the document continues, Lohr “directed others to clean up the blood in inmate KD’s cell rather than to preserve the blood as evidence.” Having located surveillance tapes that recorded the assault, “supervisor ES announced that ‘he would take care of’ the issue, and then waved what appeared to be a magnet over several surveillance tapes in order to erase the footage” and “then hid the magnetic device in the drop-ceiling,” the document explains. In addition, “a supervisor – who previously had ordered an assault on inmate KD – instructed defendant Lohr and officer TH not to write any reports about inmate KD and his injuries,” according to the document.

The day after the assault, and again on March 27, 2008, Lohr “concealed that he and his co-conspirators were involved in a cover-up” when meeting with investigators on the case, providing them “with false and misleading statements about the beating,” according to the document. In addition, Lohr “contacted another officer who was not involved in the beating, and instructed that officer not to tell investigators that he knew Lohr had been” in the section of RCI where KD’s cell was when the assault occurred.

As of today, the court docket in Lohr’s case does not reflect that he has an attorney, and he has not yet had an initial appearance. The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorney P. Michael Cunningham.

Neither the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, nor the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, responded immediately to requests for comment about the case against Lohr.

*Correction: Ryan Lohr is 26 years old, not 36, as this story originally reported. City Paper regrets the error.