Guards at Pittsburgh state prison named in lawsuit
Share with others:
A former inmate of the State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh filed a lawsuit today alleging that he was struck repeatedly, threatened with sexual abuse and intimidated in 2010.
The inmate, who is not identified in the lawsuit, was brought to SCI Pittsburgh's F Block in December 2010, the complaint by attorney Jon Pushinsky said. Corrections Officer Harry Nicoletti demanded to know his crime, and threatened to beat him using handcuffs as brass knuckles, it said
When the inmate told of his crime -- which is not described in the complaint -- Mr. Nicoletti punched him repeatedly, though not with the handcuffs, it said.
Then Mr. Nicoletti forced the inmate into a kneeling position, the complaint said. The inmate thought he would be forced to perform oral sex, it said, until Corrections Officer Kevin Friess noted that the inmate was "afflicted with boils and other skin ailments." Mr. Nicoletti then backed away, it said.
Later Corrections Officer Tory Kelly punched the inmate around the head, face and body, it said, and warned him against reporting the abuse. Other prisoners threatened the inmate with rape, and he was afraid to shower for a long time.
The lawsuit demands punitive and compensatory damages. It is now one of about half a dozen lawsuits alleging abuse of inmates on F Block.
The complaint names Mr. Nicoletti, Mr. Friess, Mr. Kelly and three fired prison managers. The Department of Corrections has, in the other, similar lawsuits, defended employees except for Mr. Nicoletti.
Department officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
The complaint is "nonsense," said Steve Townsend, an attorney representing Mr. Nicoletti. "It's not true. Hopefully, when [Mr. Nicoletti] gets his opportunity to go through the criminal process, that will come out."
A criminal trial in which Mr. Nicoletti, 60, of Coraopolis, faces charges related to alleged inmate abuses is set to start Jan. 8. Mr. Kelly, 41, of Aliquippa, faces a criminal trial set to start Dec. 10. Charges against Mr. Friess were dismissed.
First Published October 18, 2012 12:23 pm