The Latest: Officials say prison safe amid sex abuse scandal
DUNMORE, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on allegations prison guards sexually abused inmates (all times local):
Officials in a Pennsylvania county insist their prison is safe despite an inmate sexual abuse scandal that’s resulted in criminal charges against seven guards.
Lackawanna (lak-ah-WAH’-nah) County spokesman Joseph D’Arienzo said Thursday officials have “worked diligently over the years” to ensure inmate safety. He says any abuse took place years ago.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says a “persistent culture of abuse” has plagued the Lackawanna County Prison for more than a decade.
Six current guards and one former guard were arrested Wednesday following a grand jury investigation. They face charges including institutional sexual assault.
Shapiro says the abuse was widely known within the prison. An investigation is ongoing.
Pennsylvania’s attorney general says that sexual abuse charges filed against seven prison guards are helping to address a “persistent culture of abuse” at a jail in Scranton.
Josh Shapiro said Thursday that current and former guards at Lackawanna County Prison abused their positions of power to coerce sex from female inmates. He says the abuse went back many years. Officials say many of the victims hesitated to come forward because they feared retaliation.
Bernie Brown, a lawyer for three of the defendants, tells the (Scranton) Times-Tribune the charges were “trumped up” by plaintiffs who are suing the prison.
The defendants were arrested Wednesday following a grand jury investigation. They face charges that include institutional sexual assault.
Shapiro says the investigation is ongoing, and there may be additional victims.