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Inmates Detail Alleged Abuse at Hearing for Former Prison Officer

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Another former Lackawanna County Prison corrections officer accused of sexual misconduct was in court Wednesday.

Former inmates testified about alleged sexual abuse spanning more than a decade.

Of the seven former Lackawanna County corrections officers arrested last month for alleged sexual abuse, John Schnipes of Archbald faced the most charges.

Schnipes had a preliminary hearing in a full courtroom Wednesday and heard from four former inmates who accuse him.

One woman testified that Schnipes came into her cell in 2006 and had her perform a sex act on him. She complied because of the promise of cigarettes.

She said that other corrections officers were able to remotely click the locks on the doors of her cell to tell Schnipes that someone was coming.

All of the women testified that they accepted Schnipes sexual advances because it got them contraband or preferential treatment, but legally, they cannot consent because of the position of power Schnipes had over them.

The case is now headed to trial. Schnipes' attorney says a jury will see his side.

"My client is absolutely innocent of these charges," said his attorney Robert Trichilo. "We're looking forward to our day in front of a jury of our peers. You saw the witnesses in there today. They were absolutely horrible. And again, they're motivated by profit. They all have lawsuits against many of these people, so they're looking to make money out of this."

Prosecutors from the state attorney general's office did withdraw two of the sexual assault charges against John Schnipes, meaning he will head to trial facing 14 separate charges.

4 comments

  • donny hud43987

    It’s all corrupt the whole entire system of Lackawanna County it needs to be replaced because it is beyond repair

  • christopher fulton

    That is a stupid defense basis because the victims are try to make money I can almost guarantee they will lose because of that..

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