Top corrections officers are sued by suspended guards

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The State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh's F Block investigation spurred another in a long series of lawsuits today as three officers who were suspended following inmate abuse allegations sued top corrections officials in federal court.

Sean Storey, 27, of Mt. Washington; Jerome Lynch, 36, of North Side; and Kevin Johnson, whose age and neighborhood of residence were not immediately available, sued two top Department of Corrections officials and and two former SCI Pittsburgh wardens.

Their complaint, by attorney Eric Stoltenberg, said that the officials violated the officers' due process rights by suspending them in April 2011 during an investigation, without first holding a hearing, required under their union contract, to get their responses to allegations.

The investigation eventually resulted in criminal charges against seven officers, who were accused of having various roles in harassing or abusing prisoners who were perceived as pedophiles. Charges against three were dismissed or dropped, one was convicted of four counts, and three await trial.

Mr. Lynch is one of those awaiting trial, facing seven counts of simple assault, official oppression, criminal solicitation and conspiracy. Trial is set to start Feb. 5. He has been fired.

Mr. Storey faced three criminal charges, all of which were dismissed. He has not returned to work.

Mr. Johnson has never been criminally charged, and remains employed at the prison.

A department spokeswoman declined comment.

The officers want back pay, compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, interest and attorney fees.

Five other officers filed a similar lawsuit in November. Seven inmates have sued department officials alleging abuse.

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


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