February 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay man alleging jail beating sentenced to 6 months

A gay man who has accused guards at the D.C. Jail of handcuffing and beating him was sentenced Jan. 21 to six months in prison after pleading guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse.

John Burrows, 39, was credited in Superior Court with the time he’s served while awaiting trial and sentencing, allowing him to be released March 16.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Corrections, which oversees the jail, has said the department was conducting an internal investigation into Burrow’s report of the jail beating. The spokesperson, Sylvia Lane, said no further information could be released.

Margaret Groat, Burrows’ sister, told DC Agenda that Burrows was treated for a concussion and severe bruises and was experiencing dizzy spells in connection with the reported jail beating. She said Burrows has retained an attorney and is considering filing a lawsuit against the city for damages associated with the reported beating.

Burrows pleaded guilty last month to the misdemeanor sexual abuse charge as part of a plea bargain offered by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Police had charged him with robbing a man and forcing the man to engage in sex at the man’s D.C. apartment in October 2008.

Groat said Burrows told her the sex was consensual and that her brother acknowledged taking money from the man after he refused to fulfill his agreement to pay Burrows for a sexual encounter.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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