Correctional officers accused of beating handcuffed inmate, destroying video evidence

BOSTON — Two correctional officers have been arrested and charged with allegedly injuring an inmate and then obstructing the investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Officials say 39-year-old Seth Bourget, of Woodstock, Connecticut, a senior correctional Officer at U.S. Bureau Prisons Federal Medical Center in Devens (FMC Devens), was indicted on two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law. Joseph Lavorato, 51 of Wilmington, Massachusetts, a lieutenant at FMC Devens, was indicted on obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction and falsification of records in a federal investigation.

Bourget and Lavorato were arrested Thursday morning and were set to appear in Boston federal court Thursday afternoon.

Lavorato allegedly obstructed the investigation by “purposely failing to timely and accurately report the nature and extent of inmate’s injuries and intentionally concealing the existence of a video recording of the incident in an official report.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Lavorato destroyed the video recording of the incident and then falsely stated in a report that the security camera was not working at the time due to a dead battery.

According to the indictment, back in June 2019, Bourget allegedly dropped his knee on an inmate’s head while the inmate was handcuffed and restrained on the floor in the mental health housing unit. Bourget also allegedly hit the handcuffed inmate with a protective shield with excessive force in a locked cell. The inmate was injured as a result of both alleged incidents.

“These corrections officers abused their authority and the public’s trust by allegedly injuring a vulnerable inmate and then attempting to cover it up,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “This conduct is an affront to the law enforcement officers who serve honorably every day and fulfill their duties with fairness and integrity. Today’s charges reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to prosecuting official misconduct.”