Prosecutors drop charges against former prison guard accused of abuse
The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday dropped all seven charges against a former prison guard accused of harassing and abusing inmates.
Jerome Lynch, 36, of the North Side was scheduled to stand trial on charges of simple assault, official oppression, solicitation and conspiracy. Prosecutors dropped the charges because the two accusers were not credible, said Lynch's attorney Jim Wymard.
“(Assistant District Attorney) Jon Pittman, to his credit, looked upon this and didn't feel he had enough evidence that would merit going forward, and that's what a fair and good prosecutor should do,” Wymard said. “It's about justice and not convictions or winning.”
Pittman couldn't be reached for comment. Mike Manko, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said his office felt it would not be possible to sustain its burden of proof against Lynch based on a victim's reluctance to testify and his testimony at former prison guard Tory Kelly's trial.
The state fired Lynch from the prison in Woods Run in April 2011 and authorities charged him in November 2011. He filed a federal lawsuit last month claiming the state Department of Corrections violated his civil rights.
He was among seven guards accused of harassing and abusing inmates who were in prison for sex crimes against children.
A jury last week convicted former guard Harry Nicoletti, 61, of Coraopolis on 27 of 80 counts that he abused inmates. The jury cleared him of more serious sex charges. In December, a jury found Kelly, 41, of Aliquippa guilty of threatening and assaulting an inmate. Two other guards are awaiting trial. Charges against the others were dropped or dismissed.
The charges spurred personnel changes at the prison, with the state removing Superintendent Melvin Lockett and two deputy superintendents.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man charged with playing doctor for free Nemacolin stay
- DUI checkpoints take on dangerous drivers
- No. 15 San Diego State hammers Pitt, 74-57
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet
- Ehrhoff finding his way with Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Bennett status remains fluid
- Bellevue apartment heavily damaged by early-morning fire
- Cancer didn’t stop mother from living for her son
- Steelers’ lookahead: New Orleans Saints
- 2 FBI agents shot, wounded in St. Louis area
- Bars bulge at the seams night before Thanksgiving