Gavel (File Photo)

A correctional officer at the federal jail in downtown Los Angeles pleaded guilty today to a felony charge of lying to investigators about his sexual activity with an inmate. Abel Concho, 53, of East Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner scheduled a Feb. 7 sentencing hearing, at which time Concho will face up to five years in federal prison.  Concho worked for the Bureau of Prisons as a correctional officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, while the victim in the case was an unnamed MDC inmate under Concho’s supervision from June 2010 to February 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Concho made a series of false statements on July 28, including that he “never” had sexual contact with the inmate, when he had
actually engaged in sexual contact with the inmate about 35 times. He also falsely stated that he “never had sexual contact” with any inmates, according to his plea agreement.
According to prosecutors, Concho first denied having any sexual contact with the inmate, then claimed he had sex with the inmate just “once (or) twice.” He also denied providing a cell phone to the inmate to take nude photographs for him, when he actually smuggled a phone into the jail, and the inmate provided him with the nude photos, prosecutors said.

According to the plea agreement, Concho admitted knowing it is a federal crime to knowingly engage in any sexual act with a person in official detention and under his custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority in a federal facility.
As part of the plea agreement, Concho agreed not to seek employment in any law enforcement capacity or a position that requires carrying a firearm. He also must complete 100 hours of community service and pay $9,500 in restitution to the victim.