Inmate who testified in prison abuse case files lawsuit

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A former inmate of the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, who testified Tuesday at the criminal trial of an officer from the prison, today sued that officer and one other alleging that they used excessive force against him.

James Arthur Turner, 31, of Crawford County, claimed in the lawsuit that former corrections officer Harry F. Nicoletti asked him what his crime was, and when told that it was sexual assault, punched him in the chest and verbally abused him.

Days later former officer Tory Kelly visited his cell, and hit him in the temple, kidneys and shoulder, the suit claims.

Turner, represented by the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, wants compensation for his suffering.

Turner's complaint roughly matches his testimony at Mr. Kelly's trial on 14 counts related to inmate abuse allegations. That non-jury trial is expected to end tomorrow with closing arguments and a verdict by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Cashman.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman had no immediate comment. The department has fired both Mr. Nicoletti, 61, of Coraopolis, and Mr. Kelly, 41, of Aliquippa. Mr. Nicoletti faces criminal trial next month on 89 counts related to inmate abuse allegations.

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


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