Former inmates of the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh continued to testify today against fired corrections officer Harry F. Nicoletti Jr., whose trial on 89 counts related to alleged abuse of inmates is in its second week.
Mr. Nicoletti "was asking people what they were in for," said Jessy Wade Newsome, 29, who was convicted in a Clearfield County court in 2010 on charges of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
When Newsome revealed the nature of his crime, in which he said the victim was 7 years old, Mr. Nicoletti "took and he hit me ... in the face with his hand. There was inmates, they were spraying liquid on me and one actually hit me in the forehead," Newsome said.
Later, he said, Mr. Nicoletti visited him in his cell and "starts pushing me around and trying to get me to hit him."
Then another corrections officer came into his cell and ordered him to put his head in the toilet, Newsome said.
"I took and put my head in the toilet," he said. "One of them flushed the toilet while the other one held my head in there with his foot."
Newsome said the officers warned him that if he tried to report the abuse, another inmate would kill him.
The prosecution of Mr. Nicoletti stems from a Department of Corrections internal investigation that focused on alleged abuse on SCI Pittsburgh's F Block, largely focused on prisoners viewed as pedophiles.
Charges against three other officers were dropped or dismissed, one was convicted on four counts, and two others await trial.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.