Convicted Pa. murderer wins $35,000 settlement
ERIE -- The state has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit by a convicted murderer who alleged that she was raped and assaulted by state prison staff.
In a 1996 lawsuit, Lisa Michelle Lambert, 34, accused administrators at the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs of doing nothing to prevent the assaults. She also alleged that she was videotaped during a strip search.
Lambert alleged that the assaults happened while she was serving a life sentence for the 1991 murder of 16-year-old Lancaster high school sophomore Laurie Show. Lambert stalked and murdered Show because she thought the teen was romantically involved with her boyfriend.
Lambert's case helped lead to anti-stalking laws in Pennsylvania and spawned the 2000 TV movie, "The Stalking of Laurie Show."
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal of her conviction in June 2005. The state then asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed on the grounds of lack of evidence. A federal judge ruled in July, however, that there was enough evidence for the lawsuit to proceed to trial.
Under the agreement reached late last month, the defendants admit no wrongdoing, and the state agreed to let Lambert continue serving her time in Massachusetts.
Lambert said she was raped or sexually assaulted by one guard between March and October 1994, subjected to "sexually tainted" assaults by another between May 1993 and October 1994, and stripped naked and filmed by guards.
One guard was convicted of indecently assaulting Lambert in 1996 and sentenced to 1 1⁄2 to 3 years in prison.
The state Department of Corrections declined comment on the case, but spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said the department does not tolerate fraternization between inmates and staff and all substantial allegations are turned over to police.
Lambert's lawyer, Angus Love of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, called the settlement amount "low." He said his client was concerned that jurors might be told about her conviction which "could have poisoned the minds for (her) plea for compassion for the sexual assaults she suffered."
In addition, he said, Lambert did not want to "fan the flames" of the publicity that has surrounded her case for years. She is now taking college classes offered by Boston University in the Massachusetts prison and "wants to put all this behind her," Love said.
Lambert spent more than a decade in a New Jersey prison. Her co-defendant is serving a life term at the state prison at Muncy, the only other Pennsylvania state prison for women. Her ex-boyfriend pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and was released to a halfway house in 2005.
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.
- Former city police chief released from federal prison
- Hydraulic lift accident kills man in Wilkinsburg
- Steelers nose tackle McCullers finds performance, fitness go hand in hand
- Padres snap Pirates’ 7-game win streak
- Pittsburgh roots shape former Md. governor’s outlook in run for president
- Point Park graduate’s ‘mugshot’ photos hit nerve on racism
- Pittsburgh prepares for arrival of Chesney fans on North Shore
- Penn State lands 4-star offensive lineman from Reading
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Keeping away garden pests from plants may have a silver-foil lining
- Pirates notebook: Burnett rediscovers vintage form