Ky. man can avoid jail for sex abuse if he re-enlists in Army. Will military take him?

·4 min read
Charles Bertram/Herald-Leader

A former Kentucky jail guard convicted of sexual abuse was offered conditional probation if he re-enlists in the military, but he may not be able to take advantage of the opportunity based on military rules.

Brandon Scott Price, a 29-year-old former jail guard who was convicted of sexual abuse of an inmate, was given an ultimatum by Franklin County Judge Thomas Dawson Wingate: go back to the military or spend a year in jail.

Price was charged after a former Franklin County jail inmate alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Price, according to court records. The victim filed a lawsuit against Price and other Franklin County officials in federal court over the allegations.

“He’s been in the military and wants to re-enlist,” said Whitney True Lawson, Price’s attorney.

Can convicted jail guard get military waiver?

Re-enlisting won’t be simple for Price. Army regulations dictate that those convicted of sexual abuse need a waiver approval to enter the military. On top of that, any applicant who was ordered to join the military as a condition from a judge is not eligible to be enlisted unless the condition is removed or is no longer imposed, according to army regulations.

Lawson said she has “no idea at this point in time” if Price will be able to get back into the military. They were working on getting him a waiver.

Price was initially charged with sodomy but later pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, according to court records. He was sentenced on Jan. 7. The offense which Price pleaded guilty to was a misdemeanor, according to state law. If he can’t get back into the military, he’ll serve the remainder of a one-year jail sentence, which is the maximum punishment for his conviction under state law.

“Because of his current charge that he’s pled to and been probated on, there are still some nuances that we’re trying to work through to determine what he’s going to be able to do, if anything, to be able to re-enlist,” Lawson said.

Army spokesman Matt Leonard told the Washington Post in a statement that “any applicant who received a conviction for a sex offense is not eligible for enlistment or appointment. No waivers are authorized.”

That didn’t stop Wingate from offering the condition. Price was given one month to re-enlist or report to the Franklin County Regional Jail, according to the State Journal in Frankfort. Wingate declined to comment on the record about the case.

Lawson said her client has been remorseful over his actions and hasn’t gotten into criminal trouble since he was charged. He was charged in January 2019 and was released from jail on a bond less than a month later.

“He has shown that he recognized his horrendous poor decision that he made, and used the three years to show that he’s not the decision,” Lawson told the Herald-Leader. “He’s a different person than that decision would lead some folks to believe.”

Price will have to self-report to the local jail if he doesn’t get enlisted, according to court records.

Guard’s victim alleged he offered to help her get early release

Price’s victim sued him and other Franklin County officials in federal court. The lawsuit asked for damages and requested that a jury trial be held. That trial is scheduled for January 2023, according to court records.

The victim involved in Price’s sexual assault case suffered from chronic high blood pressure while she was in jail in Franklin County. She had elevated blood pressure for an extended period of time on the day of the sexual assault, according to court records. A nurse told Price, who had checked the victim’s blood pressure, to take the victim to the emergency room.

Price volunteered to take the victim to the hospital even though his shift was nearing its end, according to court records. He took her to the emergency room alone, which was in violation of jail policy. Price stayed at the hospital with the victim for five hours.

“During that time, Price made sexually-charged comments to (the victim) and remarked on her appearance,” the victim’s attorney wrote in the federal lawsuit. “He also told (the victim) he knew a Kentucky Department of Corrections employee who is responsible for parole decisions.”

Price restrained and shackled the victim back into the transport van after she was treated for her high blood pressure, according to court records. After they left the hospital, Price drove the van to Big Eddy Road in Frankfort and stopped.

“He turned around and told (the victim) if she performed oral sex on him, he would talk to the KDOC employee he knew about getting (the victim) released from jail earlier,” the victim’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit.

Then Price got into the back of the van, according to the lawsuit.

The victim “was handcuffed and shackled,” her attorney wrote. “She felt she had no choice but to comply with Price’s command to perform oral sex on him.”

Attorneys for Franklin County officials wrote in a legal reply that they didn’t have enough information to know whether or not the victim’s sexual assault allegations were true.

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