Attorneys: Guards did not conspire in jail assault on teen

COVINGTON, KY (AP) - Lawyers for two former jail guards on duty when a northern Kentucky 10th-grader was sexually assaulted say their clients are scapegoats.

The two former guards, Shawn Freeman and Wesley Lanham, are on trial in federal court this week. Lanham's attorney, Randy Blankenship, told FOX19 in an exclusive interview that Lanham told prisoners not to hurt the young man and says Freeman wasn't even at the jail at the time of the attack.

"His reputation has been destroyed," said Blankenship. "They've released all this stuff about him implying he's a horrible, sadistic guard that wanted this young man assaulted that he wanted this to happen. none of that is true. He didn't want this to happen he didn't know it had happened he had no part of this."

Opening arguments in the trial were on Monday. Prosecutors say the teen was sexually assaulted after being transferred to a cell with 14 convicted felons.

Freeman and Lanham are facing federal charges of conspiring to violate the teen's civil rights. If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison.

The sergeant on duty that night, Clinton Shawn Sydnor, avoided trial by agreeing to testify against Freeman and Lanham in exchange for prosecutors recommending a 15-year sentence.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
with information from FOX19's Steve Oldfield