January 20, 2016 / 10:00 PM / 3 years ago

Ex-guard at N.Y.'s Rikers Island sentenced for assaulting inmate

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former guard at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex was sentenced on Wednesday to 90 days in jail for assaulting an inmate in 2009 in an incident that blinded the man in one eye.

Victor Rodman, 53, had been convicted in October at a nonjury trial in the city’s Bronx borough by a state judge, Martin Marcus.

Under the sentence imposed by Marcus on Wednesday, Rodman can serve his time on weekends while completing 250 hours of community service, prosecutors said. They added they did not expect Rodman to serve his time at Rikers.

Rodman was accused of striking inmate Carlos Sanchez across the face after a fight between Sanchez and another inmate.

The blow left Sanchez blind in one eye, prosecutors said.

A second corrections officer, Michelle Hubert, was convicted alongside Rodman of covering up the assault by filing false reports saying Rodman was not present at the time of the incident.

Last week, Marcus sentenced Hubert to 200 hours of community service but no jail time. Rodman resigned after his indictment, while Hubert was fired following her conviction.

Rikers Island is one of the world’s largest jail complexes, housing about 10,000 inmates in 10 facilities. Most inmates are either convicted individuals serving short-term sentences or defendants awaiting trial who have not obtained or cannot afford bail.

In recent years, the complex has drawn intense scrutiny for what critics contend is a pervasive culture of corruption, inmate abuse and violence.

Last year, the city agreed to a package of reforms to resolve a lawsuit brought by inmates and backed by the U.S. Justice Department alleging that guards routinely used excessive force.

Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney

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