Providence, R.I. – A former Woonsocket police officer has pleaded guilty to a civil rights charge in the beating of a teenage boy in his custody. John H. Douglas pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to depriving the teen of his civil rights. He faces up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a reduced sentence when he is sentenced Nov. 10.
Douglas was indicted in December on charges of striking the teen at the Woonsocket police station after an arrest. An FBI investigation began after the teen appeared in juvenile court badly injured and said several officers had beaten him. Douglas did not comment when leaving court.
His lawyer, Thomas Briody, said Douglas was an excellent police officer who made a bad mistake and is now accepting responsibility. He resigned from the force this week.