Former guard at federal prison in Lexington pleads guilty to having sex with inmate

A former guard at the federal prison in Lexington pleaded guilty Monday to having sex with an inmate.

Dustin B. Sparks faces up to 15 years in prison.

Sparks’ plea agreement said he had sex with a female inmate at the Lexington Federal Medical Center last September.

Federal law criminalizes all sexual contact between prison staff and inmates. Sparks knew that any sexual contact between prison staffers and inmates “was strictly forbidden and was a federal crime,” according to the plea document.

Sparks is scheduled to be sentenced in December. He was granted release until sentencing, but U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell barred Sparks from working in law enforcement as one of the conditions of releasing him.

The count which Sparks pleaded guilty to is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines, but Caldwell will determine Sparks’ sentence after evaluating factors in the case.

Sparks no longer works for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, a spokesman said.

Another former correctional officer at the Lexington prison, Gregory Barrett, pleaded guilty last month to having sex with an inmate last year.

Barrett’s plea agreement said he also threatened a witness to keep quiet.