Another inmate claims prison guard abused him

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The inmate whose testimony convicted one Pittsburgh prison guard accused another today at a criminal trial, but admitted to concealing a key part of his account for a year.

Randy Jones, 24, of Verona, said that in late December 2010, on the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh's F Block, then-guard Harry F. Nicoletti Jr. slapped Jones repeatedly and exposed himself. Last month Jones testified that former corrections officer Tory Kelly beat and threatened him, resulting in Mr. Kelly's conviction on four of the 14 counts he faced.

Jones told a jury in Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman's courtroom that he was imprisoned for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a 12 year old. After he confirmed to Mr. Nicoletti that he was a sex offender, the officer "jumps out of his chair, comes over to me, and strikes me on the side of my face," Jones said.

Later Mr. Nicoletti and another officer came to his cell and ordered him to strip, Jones said. He claimed that Mr. Nicoletti kicked him so he fell to his knees, and unzipped his pants, but the other officer urged Mr. Nicoletti to do nothing further.

On cross-examination by defense attorney Steve Colafella, Jones admitted that he told no one -- despite multiple visits from investigators -- about the incident in the cell until a year later, when he testified at Mr. Nicoletti's preliminary hearing.

Mr. Colafella held one of Jones' handwritten accounts. "Nowhere in those three handwritten pages do you say anything about my client exposing himself to you," he said.

"That is true," Jones said. "I never told." He said he was too embarrassed about it.

Mr. Colafella's theory is that inmates shared notes and have made ever-worsening accusations in order to get back at guards, gain points toward parole or advance lawsuits. Jones is among seven former F Block inmates who have sued prison officers and managers.

Another former inmate testified today that when he was identified as a sex offender, Mr. Nicoletti told him to run up and down F Block's halls, slapped him, grabbed his pants touching his penis and poured water into his pants. Then, he said, an inmate beat him up.

The inmate making those accusations -- who the Post-Gazette will not identify because the charges based on his testimony include sexual assault -- contradicted several of the statements attributed to him in investigators' reports. He said he suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Mr. Nicoletti, 61, of Coraopolis, is the central defendant in a series of cases in which former officers are accused of abusing inmates viewed as pedophiles. Mr. Kelly, 41, of Aliquippa, faces a March sentencing.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord.


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