Former SCI Pittsburgh prison guard to serve five years of probation in abuse of sex offenders
The Woods Run prison guard who masterminded the abuse of child sex offenders serving time will spend five years on probation, an Allegheny County judge ordered on Thursday.
Harry Nicoletti, 61, of Coraopolis, a former guard at State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh, will spend six months on house arrest.
Prosecutors said Nicoletti led a group of guards who targeted inmates convicted of sex crimes involving minors.
“You were painted as an ogre; you were painted as a sex fiend; you were painted as a villain who liked to torture and seek out sex offenders,” Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman said before imposing Nicoletti's sentence. “I'm sparing you from the danger you imposed on the individuals you were in charge of. I hope you understand that.”
“It certainly has never been my mission to hurt or embarrass anyone,” Nicoletti told the judge before sentencing. “While I do respect the jury's verdict, I still struggle with it daily.”
He declined to comment as he walked out of the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown, with his wife.
A jury in January found him guilty of 27 counts, including one felony of solicitation and misdemeanor charges of official oppression, simple assault, solicitation, indecent exposure and making terroristic threats.
The jury acquitted him of 52 charges that he sexually assaulted the inmates. It could not reach a verdict on one count that Nicoletti brought illegal contraband into the prison.
Defense attorney Steve Colafella said Cashman's sentence sends a message to other guards.
“This case represents a policy statement that that type of behavior is not tolerated by the Department of Corrections,” Colafella said.
A jury in December found former Woods Run guard Tory D. Kelly, 41, of Aliquippa guilty of threatening and assaulting an inmate. Kelly is scheduled to be sentenced April 2.
Former guard Bruce Lowther, 35, of West Newton is awaiting trial set for April 15. Prosecutors dropped or dismissed charges against four others.
The charges against Nicoletti and the other guards have spurred several federal civil lawsuits.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Despite age, ‘Trek’ stars enjoy hipster status
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- ATI continues to produce, ship products
- Starkey: The kick returner and the grizzly bear
- Bryant suspension opens doors for other Steelers’ receivers
- Potential suspension of Pennsylvania AG’s license unusual
- Puppeteer from city has talent
- Less sleep increases your chance of catching a cold, researchers say
- Risks don’t get any better as online dating prospers
- 4 projects suggested for grant funding