DUNMORE, Pa. (KDKA) — Seven current and former Lackawanna County Prison correctional officers have been accused of sexually assaulting female inmates.
Felony criminal charges were announced Thursday against John Shnipes, Jeffrey Staff, George Efthimiou, Mark Johnson, George McHale, Paul Voglino and James Walsh.
All seven were taken into custody Wednesday.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro says through a year-long investigation, officials learned that there have been allegations of institutional sexual assaults of the female inmates at the Lackawanna County Prison for a decade.
The guards are accused of coercing inmates to perform sex acts, and in some cases, the guards would promise the victims commissary items, food, cigarettes or extra phone time to manipulate and force the women to perform the sex acts.
The seven guard are charged with various crimes, including institutional sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and harassment.
“In the few instances that these allegations were reported to personnel at the Lackawanna County Prison, there is no evidence that any action was taken to help the female inmates who were being sexually assaulted by correctional officers,” Shapiro said in a release. “This is outrageous conduct by those placed in positions of power.”
Anyone with information about other instances of sexual assault at the Lackawanna County Prison is encouraged to call 570-846-4074.