The Allegheny County Jail in Pennsylvania is a den of perversion and sexual predation. To date, eleven guards have been ordered to stand trial on charges they sexually assaulted female prisoners at the jail.
The first 4 guards were arrested on January 16, 2004, for allegedly trading drugs and cigarettes for sex with 9 female prisoners.
The guardsLeShawn Walker, 31, John Pastor, 53, George DiDomenicus, 51, and Joseph Addison, 54were all suspended without pay.
DiDomenicus faces two counts each of institutional sexual assault and criminal attempt for trading cigarettes for oral sex with two prisoners. This allegedly happened 10 times with one of the prisoners.
Addison has been charged with 4 counts of institutional sexual assault and 2 counts of criminal attempt for soliciting views of the breasts and vaginas of 3 prisoners and oral sex from 2 prisoners.
At his preliminary hearing on April 1, 2004, five female prisoners testified that Addison asked them on various occasions over the past two years to raise their tops or lower the bottoms of their jail uniforms in exchange for cigarettes.
Walker faces 4 counts of institutional sexual assault and two counts of criminal attempt for allegedly having sex with 3 female prisoners at the jail, also in exchange for cigarettes.
One of the prisoners testified at Walker's preliminary hearing on February 19, 2004, that she had oral sex with Walker at least 10 times and sexual intercourse at least 20 times since 1996. The woman also testified that she suspected Walker gave her a venereal disease during one of their encounters.
Pastor, who is the former president of the Allegheny County Prison Employees Independent Union, is charged with one count of institutional sexual assault for having sex with a prisoner in a supply closet at the jail. Pastor also allegedly provided her with Percocet, Vicodin, heroin, and $2,100 while she was in the county jail and at a state prison in Cambridge Springs.
District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. noted that it was irrelevant whether the women sought payment for sex because, as prisoners, they had no alternative but to go along with the guards' demands. "The situation is inherently coercive ... extremely coercive," said Zappala.
Another six guards were arrested on February 18, 2004. Darren Hill, 49, Donald Stupka, 45, Roy Baldinger, 38, and Charles Miller, 33, were charged with one count each of institutional sexual assault.
William Woznichak, 38, and Regis Veatch, 47, were charged with two counts each of institutional sexual assault.
At a preliminary hearing on March 24, 2004, one prisoner testified that she had sex with Miller, Hill, and Stupka at the jail. Hill and Stupka, however, face only misdemeanor charges because the alleged sexual episodes occurred in 1999 and institutional sexual assault did not become a felony in Pennsylvania until 2000.
A second woman testified that she had sex with Woznichak and Baldinger. Woznichak has stipulated to participating in two sex acts with a prisoner.
The eleventh guard to be charged, DePaul Smith, was arrested on February 26, 2004. Smith is accused of having sexual contact with a female prisoner at least twice in November 2003.
Although about two dozen women came forward claiming they were sexually assaulted, B.J. Horn, executive director of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, said that "[rape or sexual assault] is still the most under-reported crime because women fear that they will be blamed." Horn added that the problem is even greater for imprisoned women because they are isolated and often seen as lacking credibility.
Drug smuggling has also been a problem at the jail. In July 2003, two guards were arrested for distributing marijuana to prisoners. Both were suspended without pay and released on their own recognizance.
Kenneth W. Staudt, 25, was charged with possession, possession with intent to deliver, and delivery on July 24 after he sold three ounces of marijuana to an undercover detective posing as a friend of a prisoner at the jail.
Staudt's arrest came a week after guard Robert Virgili was arrested for delivering 5 packages of marijuana to a prisoner at the jail. Three prisoners and a civilian were also charged in that incident.
The drug busts and the alleged sexual assaults all occurred during Warden Calvin Lightfoot's tenure, which began in 1996. He was fired in December 2003.
Northumberland County Prison
But at least Lightfoot wasn't accused of sexual assault himself, as was the warden of Pennsylvania's Northumberland County Prison.
A female prisoner at the jail told state police that she was sexually assaulted on September 19, 2003,. by warden Ralph "Rick" Reish Jr. as he drove her 30 miles in his pick up truck to the Lycoming County Prison, where she had been transferred.
Reish, who denies the allegations, has not been charged. However, the prison board on May 6, 2004, sanctioned Reish with a three-day suspension without pay for failing to advise county officials that he was being investigated for the alleged assault.
Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Gazette
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