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Jailbird Richard
Hatch separated from other inmates

Jailbird Richard
Hatch separated from other inmates

Gay Survivor winner put in protective custody.

Gay Survivor winner Richard Hatch is being held in protective custody apart from other inmates until his sentencing this month on tax evasion charges.

Hatch, who won $1 million in the debut season of the CBS reality TV series, was found guilty in January of failing to pay taxes on his winnings and other income. He was taken into custody immediately because U.S. district court judge Ernest Torres said he posed a flight risk.

Hatch, 45, asked to be put in protective custody shortly after he was detained, his attorney, Michael Minns, said Monday. Hatch is being held at a jail in Plymouth, Mass., until his sentencing April 25.

Charles Wyant, a supervisory deputy U.S. marshal, said the reality TV star was placed in protective custody because he is a celebrity. Any prisoner can make such a request. "The situation he's in is the best possible position for him to be in at this point in time, the safest and most secure," Wyant said.

As a matter of policy, all prisoners spend their first three days at the jail in solitary confinement with one hour a day for recreation, Wyant said. After that, they are usually moved into the general population, but Hatch is being held separately, he said.

Minns said Hatch's conditions have improved since he first arrived in jail, except for what he called the abysmally bad food. "I'd just hate for someone to think these are pleasant conditions," he said.

The charges against Hatch carry a maximum of 13 years in prison. Torres said he expected a sentence of between two years, nine months and three years, five months, but it could be longer because prosecutors accused Hatch of lying during his testimony. (AP)

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