Corrections Officer Facing Sex Charges

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SCRANTON -- A corrections officer at the Lackawanna County Prison appeared in court Friday to answer to accusations that he sexually assaulted seven female inmates over a nine year period beginning in 2002. He's facing 22 separate charges.

This wraps up a two year long investigation into alleged misconduct on the part of Corrections Officer Joe Black from Dickson City. Black has been off the job at the Lackawanna County Prison all that time. Investigators said Black used his position to bribe and have sex with female inmates. He's also accused of raping some inmates starting when he was new on the job back in 2002.

Joseph Black of Dickson City has not worn his corrections officer uniform for two years. He's been suspended that long while police and a grand jury tried to make sense of accusations against Black. Accusations made while he was working as a corrections officer at the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton.

Detectives filed 22 different sex charges, saying Black used his position of power to bribe female inmates into sexual relationships even raping them in secluded areas of the prison.

Those accusations shocked visitors to the prison Friday afternoon.

"Things like that should not happen anywhere especially a public official, someone who is in an authority position to be doing stuff like that, that's just not right," said Sidd Shabazz of Philadelphia.

Black was charged with rape and institutional sexual assault. Court papers list seven female inmates as Black's alleged victims. The women told police Black would buy them gifts for sex. One woman said Black handcuffed her and raped her in her cell.

According to court papers, the inmates and other corrections officers at first didn't come forward because they feared retribution from Black. Folks visiting the prison Friday said that is a culture that got out of hand here.

"Just letting them come in here and do whatever they want? Is this the justice system we want around here? People are already doing time in here and they got to get raped and molested too?" added Lakeemah Bennett of Taylor.

"Just because people come to jail doesn't mean that their civil rights should be violated, and I know first hand because I have a loved one there," said Genevieve Toole of Dickson City.

Other corrections officers told a grand jury they became suspicious of Black because he would volunteer to look over the female inmates, which men typically do not do.

Black's attorney said it never went beyond that.

"He didn't do it, it's pretty simple, he just didn't do it. These are completely false allegations," said Joe DeAndrea, Black's defense attorney.

Investigators said the seven women listen in the affidavit are no longer at the Lackawanna County Prison. Some of them have since filed a federal civil lawsuit against Black.

Black was released on bail Friday and still suspended with pay from the prison.


  • nicki

    DISGUSTING!!! AND SUSPENDED WITH PAY.. LET ME tell you thats just one of the very shady things that happen at that hell hole..

  • Diana Henn

    in my opinion men should not be taking care of the women in prisons and vice versa, not that it can’t happen with ppl of the same sex but it should be those of the same sex working the cells it just makes sense but then again nothing in this world makes any sense these days. Tired of ppl overstepping their authority.

  • TheCriminalTruth

    “the inmates and other corrections officers at first didn’t come forward because they feared retribution from Black ” —

    I want to know whom those corrections officers are because they failed to report a crime which is a felony. Is that who we really want as corrections officers? If they aren’t willing to help self police, this sort of stuff will continue. It’s absurd what he did, and I find it offensive that others stood by and were “afraid” of retaliation…. the fact it states officerS says enough. Those men should be fired.

    Also, why does this man get to keep his position, and pay? .. any other person wouldn’t even be suspended, they’d be shown the door.

  • Joey

    he’s a sick man and i don’t know why they are still paying him i hope they find him guilty that’s pathetic what happend

  • Mary

    Some of these “UNIFORMED” people need a psych evaluation every few months! I almost had a run in with one last month! They are so rude!

  • Carol

    I understand the “innocent until proven guilty” theory but this is ridiculous! Getting paid for two years? Absurd. Why’d this investigation take so long? Was there any attempt to move it forward, if not for the obvious reasons (justice for the victims, deterrence, retribution, etc), but to not pay a salary for two years? Maybe he sat home the last two years wondering what it feels like when someone bigger or more powerful violates you….

  • jerry

    suspended with full pay? for 2 years? oh my god! reely? thats where our tax dollars go? thats pathetic! and this gaurd raped over 7 girls? lackawana co. is controled by inexpierienced people who just knew other people in the system and got hired! i am ashamed of this county,,he should be in a state prison,,,what a joke! take his last 2 yrs salary you gave him to sit home,, and put cameras all over that place,, every 25 ft. lackawana co. is crumbling to the ground

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