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‘Pervasive Culture of Sexual Abuse’ – Attorney General Details Charges Against Lackawanna County Prison Officers


DUNMORE -- A pervasive culture of sexual abuse has existed for years at the Lackawanna County Prison said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro at a news conference Thursday morning.

Shapiro detailed grand jury findings that resulted in the arrests of seven current and former corrections officers on Wednesday.

Those officers are charged with several different types of sex crimes, all relating to the alleged sexual abuse of female inmates at the Lackawanna County Prison.

Shapiro said that their investigation is not over.

"Those seven corrections officers were charged based off of findings from a grand jury that met for about a year. The grand jury found that there was a culture of sexual abuse at the Lackawanna County Prison."

In a news conference at state police headquarters in Dunmore, Shapiro said that they are still investigating this case and that Wednesday's arrests are "not the final chapter in this horrible saga."

"I want to stress today that this investigation is very much ongoing, very much ongoing, whenever you see this kind of scope, whenever you see this kind of pervasive culture that was allowed to exist, you have to wonder how far up the chain this goes."

Shapiro says the charges filed Wednesday were recommended by a grand jury that met for about a year. He explained that the state took over the case in 2016. In September of last year, almost 100 agents took files from the prison and county offices.

"As a result of this investigation, I hope the culture changes, I hope that the leadership in this county responds to this, makes the necessary changes they need to make," said Shapiro.

When video of the arrests aired on Newswatch 16, we heard from a woman who claims abuse by one of the seven men -- George McHale.

She says McHale threatened her during one of her first nights behind bars in the fall of 2016.

"He came back later that night when everyone else was in bed. He locked all the other dorms, the other pods down, I guess is what you call them, called me out and told me to come to the bathroom. He made me do oral sex and he raped me repeatedly."

She says she had a feeling she wasn't alone after she went to other prison employees to report the abuse.

"I reported it to the medical staff and they told me, 'welcome to jail, you're going to enjoy this.'"

The attorney general also announced that there's been a local hotline set up for people to call if they have information about sexual abuse at the Lackawanna County Prison at 570-846-4074.

33 comments

  • Naughtius Maximus

    How can anyone even pretend to be surprised at this? If someone is actually surprised, then they need to run right back into their wardrobe closet and head back to Narnia. This is what happens in prisons. Period. It always has, and it always will.

  • 😟

    So you’re saying it’s the fault of these women they were abused just cuz they’re in prison? Well, I think that’s a terrible thing to say. Just cuz they made mistakes in their lives doesn’t mean these men have the right to sexually abuse them. These guards should know better. Their job is to check on them, feed them, make sure things are running smoothly. Not to satisfy their own sexual pleasures. It’s disgusting and these women certainly didn’t deserve it.

  • Just a regular guy in NEPA

    The issues at this waste of space prison have been happening since long before the first public outing of corruption with that waste of human flesh warden in 2003, for the last 15 years, everyone who comes in to power in our lackluster little county has known they have a problem with the prison, but they do nothing to fix it, instead, they have photo ops over bridges that cost way too much to build, and take way to long.

    Let’s be real, it’s a prison, in the grand scheme of the world, prisoners do not matter to elected officials except as an expense they have to account for every year. Is it right, no, but maybe they will learn from Dostoyevski: “You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners.”.

    • Danzig

      That is why in Northern Europe they rehabilitate their prisoners, even though, LCP does one thing right….makes you want to stay out of prison.

  • fattystools

    Now we’ll “suspend them with pay” for 8 months until the investigation is over. And then another 14 months until it actually reaches trial.

  • BERRIOS

    is this a real surprise to anyone?? in the state of sandusky, kids for cash and billy cosby and every day there is a child porn or molestation arrest on the news. How can anyone be surprised.

  • Timothy Tingley

    This is the same prison that let a women give birth without medical attention a couple years ago. The hits just keep coming.

  • Timothy Tingley

    A Lackawanna county- run operation is full of degenerate perverts. Color me shocked! What next: Sky is blue? Water is wet? These people are hilarious. Scranton is a sad, sad place. Maybe Hillary and Joe Biden will come home and fix everything for these liberals. Bill probably has some pointers for staying out of trouble while being a pervert.

  • John Fitz

    I have been a witness to many forms of abuse there when I vacationed there so to speak. No one ever cared what I said or saw. I have seen people left to die and beat on by guards. Really surprised this is coming out now. I even got woken up and beat on as well…..for no good reason.

    • WAYNE S

      The prisons there no doubt got shady people working there kind of like the coal township misfit who got busted a few months ago.. Also the street roamers are close by vo tech woods and homeless camp only a few minutes walk away.

    • Maroon

      Frackville hired a new chief not too long ago. He solved a bank robbery and a murder. If he goes tossing cells he’ll get to the bottom. A thorough chief like that might even go under cover if necessary. Those Main Street roamers run when they see the chief coming.

  • Barbara E.

    Please do away with Talkback 16. Too often the comments below are disgusting and disrespectful to victims. Completely unnecessary

  • Ban Assault Idiots

    So, why is my comment “awaiting moderation,” then? Because it’s TRUE? Or UNCOMFORTABLE?

    WNEP = alt-left-fake-news

Comments are closed.