Pa. paid $73,000 to settle allegation of abuse on SCI Pittsburgh's F Block

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The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has agreed to pay a prison inmate and his attorney $73,000 to resolve his claim that he was abused on the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh’s F Block.

The department this week released the settlement amount in the case of the inmate described in court papers by the pseudonym John Roe. The allegations made in the lawsuit match the testimony given in two F Block-related trials by Randy Jones, 25, of Verona.

The settlement agreement indicates that former SCI Pittsburgh leaders Melvin Lockett, Martin Kovacs and Janice Niemiec don’t acknowledge any wrongdoing in relation to the allegations. Mr. Lockett was superintendent of the prison and the other two defendants were his deputies prior to their 2011 dismissal, which came in the wake of allegations that guards brutally hazed sex offenders and others housed temporarily on F Block.

Jones was on F Block at the end of 2010 and early 2011 -- an early stop on a 7½ to 15 year sentence for sex with a child.

He testified in the abuse trials of former corrections officers Harry F. Nicoletti and Tory Kelly, saying that Kelly beat and threatened him, and Nicoletti exposed himself. Both men were convicted on charges stemming from the incident, and Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Cashman sentenced them to probation.

A judge closed the civil case in September.

The state investigation of abuse allegations on F Block has spurred lawsuits by prisoners against the officers and by officers against the department for its disciplinary efforts.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord

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