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Ex-guards convicted in jail sex attack

COVINGTON — A federal jury on Thursday returned guilty verdicts against two former jail guards accused of violating the civil rights of a teenage inmate who was sexually assaulted in a Northern Kentucky jail.

Wesley Lanham, 30, of Dry Ridge, and Shawn Freeman, 35, of Irvine, were found guilty of conspiring to violate the teen's civil rights by allowing other inmates to sexually assault him in the 2003 attack.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports that they face life in prison when they are sentenced Dec. 8.

The case went to a federal jury in Covington in the afternoon. The trial began Monday.

Prosecutors argued that Lanham and Freeman showed deliberate indifference when they did nothing to prevent the young man from being transferred to a cell with 14 convicted felons where he was assaulted.

Defense lawyers had argued that Lanham and Freeman were scapegoats. The attorneys said their clients were among the lowest-ranking guards on duty the night of the attack and were just following orders.

Freeman's attorney, Randy Blankenship, has said the men didn't lock the teen in the cell with the convicts. Clinton Shawn Sydnor, the sergeant on duty, avoided trial by agreeing to testify against Freeman and Lanham in exchange for prosecutors recommending a 15-year sentence.

Lanham took the stand Wednesday and denied that he told inmates to harm the teen. He testified that he only asked an inmate to talk to the young man about making the right choices in life.

Freeman also testified on Wednesday, saying he didn't hear Lanham tell anyone to harm the teen.

The man, who was 18 at the time of the attack, testified Tuesday that he thought he was going to be killed before the attack and that he was denied medical care afterward.

The youth was put in the Grant County Jail overnight for trying to outrun a state trooper who caught him speeding.