BUFFALO, N.Y. - A former Erie County Corrections officer is facing up to a year in prison and a hefty fine after pleading guilty to violating an inmate's rights.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul says Josephine Cutolo, 54, admitted aiming and dispensing a chemical spray inches away from the inmate's face while the inmate was in handcuffs, subdued and being escorted by two other deputies last August. After spraying the victim, Cutolo also yelled an obscenity at the inmate. The department terminated Cutolo last month.
"Those who serve in law enforcement-including corrections staff-are entrusted with substantial power and authority in order to protect the public or those in their care," said Hochul. "Certainly the vast majority of officers live up to the highest ideals and demands of their chosen vocation. But when an officer abuses her position and hurts one she is sworn to protect, our Office will not hesitate to bring the perpetrator to justice, regardless of their title or position."
Cutolo is set to be sentenced in July.