Reaction to Not Guilty Verdict for Lackawanna County Corrections Officer

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Lackawanna County correctional officer George McHale left the courthouse in Scranton after being found not guilty of sexually assaulting a female inmate at the Lackawanna County Prison.

McHale was one of seven correctional officers who faced sexual abuse allegations from women locked up in Lackawanna County.

“It was kind of an irresponsible prosecution. It's mind-boggling how the Commonwealth has come in and charged a number of individuals on completely uncorroborated statements,” said criminal defense attorney Joe D'Andrea.

D'Andrea represents Paul Voglino, one of those six officers.

A female inmate claims that Voglino forced her to perform acts in her cell in 2002 and 2003.

D'Andrea says this verdict shows the state attorney general's office has no case.

“It's going to come back and haunt them because there are cases out there that have less evidence than the one today and I think they're going to find a lot of these juries are going to be coming back and saying not guilty,” said D’Andrea.

In a statement from the attorney general it said:

“While disappointed by today's verdict, it will not lessen our determination and commitment to prosecute the remaining six prison guards who stand accused of the sexual assault of female inmates in the Lackawanna Prison over many years.”

Despite this acquittal, people Newswatch 16 spoke to here in Scranton felt strongly that this was not the right verdict.

“I believe he should be locked up,” said Lousie Kudrako. “People came forward, correct? And said he did it, they know him, obviously he did it.”

“Because a lot of stuff goes on there that's been on the news already, with the prison and that,” said Nancy Hazleton. “And that's my opinion, I don't think he's innocent.”

“It seemed like there's enough evidence and I don't think these women lie because I don't know what their motivation would be,” said Lisa Malia.

D'Andrea says no trial date has been set for his client at this time.

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