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Georgia sheriff charged with beating inmates resigns

Wilcox County Sheriff's Department

Wilcox County Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth agreed not to run for re-election as part of the deal that allowed him to be freed on bond.

The sheriff of a small Georgia county resigned Tuesday after he and his son were released on bond on federal charges of abusing inmates and lying to the FBI to cover it up.

Wilcox County Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth resigned and agreed not to run for re-election as part of an agreement that allowed him to be released to house arrest on $25,000 bond. Wilcox County, population 8,600, is in south Georgia about 50 miles south of Macon.

Bloodsworth; his son, Austin Bloodsworth; and former inmate Willie James Caruthers — a jail trusty at the time — are charged with conspiracy, violation of constitutional rights, inmate abuse and lying to the FBI in the beatings of three inmates in 2009, according to the 14-count indictment on file with the office of the U.S. attorney's for the Middle District of Georgia.


The sheriff was also charged with tampering with one of the victims and with two witnesses, while former county jailer Casey Owens was charged with obstructing justice by writing false reports.

The civil rights charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count, while the conspiracy and false statements charges carry a maximum penalty of up to five years.

All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty. Bloodsworth's attorney, Tim Withers, wouldn't comment. No trial date has been set.

The two Bloodsworths and Caruthers are accused of assaulting two inmates and of joining Owens in assaulting a third inside the Wilcox County Jail in July 2009. One of the inmates suffered a broken jaw.

No further details of the alleged assaults were released.

"I think the indictment speaks for itself," U.S. Attorney Michael Moore told NBC station WMGT of Macon, who said his office was working with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. "Obviously, we consider them to be serious charges."

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