Former Pittsburgh prison guard Kelly gets probation for inmate abuse

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A former Pittsburgh corrections officer was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years' probation with one year house arrest on charges he abused inmates under his care at the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh.

Tory Kelly, 41, of Aliquippa was found guilty in a bench trial in December of witness intimidation, simple assault, official oppression and terroristic threats.

In addition, last month, he pleaded guilty to a separate count of simple assault against a former fellow corrections officer. He was accused of going to the home of Curtis Hoffman and threatening him for about 10 minutes.

Mr. Hoffman, who has been placed in a witness protection program, wrote a letter to the court explaining that he feared for his safety.

"I have lost my home of 13 years and my career as an officer of 14 years," he wrote. "This had placed a great strain on my marriage. After this hearing, I face an uncertain future."

Mr. Hoffman said he believed a lighter sentence would place his family in danger.

As part of the punishment, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman ordered Kelly to undergo a mental health evaluation and complete anger management classes.

At his sentencing hearing, Kelly apologized to the court.

"My wife and children, they didn't deserve this at all. I wanted to tell the court I'm deeply sorry for it," he said.

Kelly's probationary sentence is seven years longer than one handed down by Judge Cashman last week against former corrections officer Harry Nicoletti.

Nicoletti was found guilty by a jury of 27 counts -- although only one is a felony. He received five years' probation with six months' house arrest.

"I don't feel his conduct warranted a lengthier sentence," said David Cercone, who represented the defendant.

Kelly served eight years in the military and originally worked for the state Department of Corrections in Forest County and moved to Pittsburgh to help care for his ailing father, Mr. Cercone said.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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