NJ jail guard not charged with beating inmate … just lying about it
SOMERVILLE — At Somerset County Jail, it's the coverup that's the crime.
Two sheriff's officers have been charged with lying on official reports, including an incident involving an injured inmate. But neither has been charged with inflicting the injuries, according to court documents obtained by New Jersey 101.5.
Roger Ridley, 43, of South Brunswick, was charged Sept. 18 with fourth-degree false swearing after investigators say he lied about not hitting an inmate and claiming that he did not know how the inmate received his "eye/face" injuries.
Robert Smiegocki, 49, of Green Brook — was charged Sept. 15 with third-degree witness tampering. Investigators say Smiegocki instructed a jail guard to lie on an incident report, which he reviewed and initialed. Authorities say Smiegocki admitted to instructing the officer to lie.
The court documents do not contain other details.
Sheriff Frank Provenzano on Thursday declined to say whether either employee had been suspended or whether they remain on the job.
Provenzano said his office investigated an incident and alerted the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office "when we found out there was a possibility of a criminal act."
A spokesman for the prosecutor did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
MyCentralJersey.com on Thursday reported that Ridley and Smiegocki had applied for pre-trial intervention, which allows first-time offenders to escape jail time and avoid a criminal record.
Court records show that both have waived their right to a trial by jury. Ridley could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Smiegocki declined to comment on the case when reached by phone.
This is the latest incident at the county jail. In January, a 23-year-old inmate died in custody. Last year, the family of a man who killed himself at the facility in 2012 received a $699,000 settlement to drop their lawsuit.
Unlike state prisons, county jail populations include people who are awaiting trial and have not been found guilty.
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