New York Daily News: By Muri Assuncao – A former correctional officer was sentenced Friday to nearly seven years behind bars for sexually abusing four women in late 2019, the US Department of Justice announced Friday.

Hosea Lee Jr., a former employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual abuse of a ward in April.

According to his plea agreement, Lee, 43, served as a  drug treatment specialist at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky, a position that required him to conduct interviews regarding treatment eligibility and progress, lead drug education classes, as well as provide counseling to inmates with substance use disorder.

On multiple occasions, between October and December 2019, Lee performed sexual acts — which occurred in secluded spaces adjacent to the classroom or in a closet in his office — on four separate women.

All victims attended his drug treatment classes.

He was indicted in July 2021, following an investigation conducted by the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General, and the FBI.

“This defendant abused his authority and the public trust by preying sexually upon women entrusted to his care,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “The Department of Justice hopes that this prosecution brings some much-needed closure to his victims,” she added.

On Friday, US District Judge Danny C Reeves sentenced Lee to 80 months (approximately six years and eight months) in federal prison, as well as 10 years of supervised release.

“Instead of helping those in his custody and care with their substance use, the defendant preyed on particularly vulnerable individuals and betrayed an important public charge,” said U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier for the Eastern District of Kentucky, who added that such “despicable conduct” not only causes “enduring damage” to the victims but also leads the public to distrust law enforcement.

Lee’s “abhorrent sexual misconduct betrays the trust we place in our correctional officers to protect those in their custody and to prepare them to return to society,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O Monaco.

According to Monaco, the Department of Justice has prioritized prosecuting cases of criminal misconduct by BOP employees, “as part of our ongoing effort to root out sexual misconduct within the bureau.”

Under federal law, Lee needs to serve 85 percent of the sentence. Upon his release, he will be under the supervision of the US Probation Office for three years.