PA Building Raided Amid Sexual Harassment Claims
Lackawanna County, PA – The statewide investigative grand jury looking into sexual assault allegations at a Pennsylvania county jail continues. On September 21, 2017, a raid of a busy county building with several attorney general vans, and police cruisers parked alongside, drew considerable attention from the public. Apparently, the state wanted to send a “loud and clear signal” that they were taking the reported sexual harassment seriously.
Just this last week, four high-ranking Lackawanna County employees were subpoenaed to testify at the end of October. The four employees recently subpoenaed were: Justin MacGregor, deputy director of human resources; Jeff Mando, chief information officer; Brian Jeffers, director of community corrections in the county’s work-release program; and Tim Betti, warden of the county jail. These four are not necessarily targets of the grand jury investigation, but may simply be witnesses.
Moreover, the investigation may grow according to former state attorney general Ernest Preate, “The scope and the breadth of this thing yesterday tells me as a former prosecutor that there’s more than sex here they’re looking at.”
Details of the search warrants also point to a widening net cast by the state police and state attorney general’s office. The search warrant demanded numerous records tied to 34 current and former jail officials and 26 current and former female inmates. Of the 34 jail officials, seven are named as defendants in a current civil case against the county for alleged sexual assault.
Records sought include staff disciplinary records, all correspondence involving correctional officers and inmates named in the warrant regarding sexual abuse and relationships, employees’ major assignment details, inmates’ dates of incarceration, and inmates’ medical reports.
The civil lawsuit that sparked the criminal investigation began in June 2016, a woman alleged she was sexually abused by six guards from 2007 to 2016. Later, three additional women later joined her case and implicated several other guards with allegations dating back to 1998. Additionally, the women’s sexual harassment attorney amended their lawsuit to include claims that the county prosecutor’s office concealed information from the first of two grand juries which investigated sexual abuse claims at the jail.
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