Former Westmoreland County prison employees face sex charges

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Two former employees at the Westmoreland County Prison have been arrested on charges of having had sex with different inmates in the facility while one worked as a corrections officer and another as a nurse practitioner.

Former part-time corrections officer Melissa Ann Boggs, 43, of Latrobe and former nurse practitioner Belinda Lee Sapanara, 38, of Donegal were each charged Thursday with institutional sexual assault in the unrelated cases.

In an affidavit of probable cause, Detective James Williams of the Westmoreland County district attorney's office said a 28-year-old inmate told him Ms. Boggs' had sex with him in his cell last year.

Later that year, in September, she was allowed to resign after officials confronted her with letters she had written to another inmate, telling him she wanted to have sex with him in his cell, according to the affidavit.

The victim in the case in which she is charged said he started a relationship with her around April 2011 that began with talking and letters -- he would send his letters to her son in Greensburg and she would send hers to the inmate's mother in North Carolina.

He said they had sex in his cell bunk one night after a sergeant made his rounds. His cellmate was there, but Ms. Boggs told him to put on headphones and face the wall. Detective Williams said Ms. Boggs denied having consensual sex with the inmate, saying instead he grabbed her, pulled down her pants and rubbed his genitals against her.

In the other case, jail officials learned July 5 that Ms. Sapanara was having sex with a 29-year-old inmate in the nurse's office, according to Detective Williams.

The affidavit in Ms. Sapanara's case said she initially denied being involved with the victim, but after listening to recorded phone conversations between them, she admitted to having four different cell phones on which she would accept calls from the inmate. She also admitted to writing him letters, using the pseudonym "Candy," according to the affidavit.

Detective Williams said she also admitted to sending him more than $750 in money orders and paying about $2,000 on his fines and costs with the county Clerk of Courts.

The affidavit said that in phone calls June 1 and June 11, Ms. Sapanara and the inmate discussed previously having sex in the nurse's office. The calls indicated the relationship was consensual, Detective Williams said.

Both women were arrested at the office of Hempfield District Judge Mark S. Mansour, where they were arraigned and released on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing for both is scheduled for Friday before Judge Mansour.


Michael A. Fuoco: or 412-263-1968.


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