LOS ANGELES – A former correctional officer at the federal jail in downtown Los Angeles was sentenced to a prison term today for lying to investigators about his sexual activity with an inmate who was under his care and supervision.
Abel Concho, 54, of East Los Angeles, was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner to a total of six months – three months in federal prison and an additional three-month term of home confinement. Judge Klausner also ordered Concho to pay the victim $9,500 in restitution.
Concho pleaded guilty in November 2021 to one count of making false statements.
Concho was employed by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) as a correctional officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Los Angeles. The victim in this case was an MDC inmate under Concho’s supervision from June 2010 to February 2011.
On July 28, 2021, Concho made a series of false statements during an administrative interview with federal investigators, including that he “never” had sexual contact with one MDC inmate, when in fact Concho engaged in sexual contact with the victim on approximately 35 different occasions. Concho, on multiple occasions, also lied that he “never had sexual contact” with any MDC inmates, according to court documents.
“Having abused his power in supervising the halls of a federal institution to commit sexual abuse and then lying up to cover up those gross abuses, justice demands that defendant should now spend time on the other side of the bars,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
After initially denying he had any sexual contact with the victim, Concho then falsely stated that he had sexual intercourse with the victim just “once (or) twice” that he could recall. Concho also falsely stated on multiple occasions that he did not provide a cellphone to the victim to take nude photographs for him. In fact, he illegally smuggled a cellphone into MDC and gave the cellphone to the victim to take nude photographs for him, which the victim then did.
Concho admitted in his plea agreement that he knew it was a federal crime and an offense that could lead to termination for a BOP employee to knowingly engage in any sexual act with a person in official detention and under his authority in a federal facility and to smuggle contraband, including cellphones, into MDC for inmates’ use.
Concho admitted he knew that, under the law and pursuant to the BOP employee code of conduct, sexual activity between staff and inmates could not be considered consensual and was not permitted. In addition to the harm it caused inmates, staff sexual acts with inmates threatened the safety and security of the prison and betrayed the trust and confidence placed in the BOP by the public, Concho admitted.
As part of his plea agreement, Concho also agreed not to seek employment in any law enforcement capacity or a position that requires carrying a firearm.
The United States Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Mack E. Jenkins, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, prosecuted this case.