PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – Sources tell KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin eight prison guards who’ve been suspended from Western Penitentiary made up a secret vigilante group that dished out their own form of justice on convicted sex offenders.
Sources tell Griffin an Allegheny County grand jury is investigating a small group of corrections officers.
The officers are described as vigilantes who sought out Megan’s Law offenders and participated in a series of attacks against inmates – described as assaults – including the possible sexual assault of inmates using broom handles.
“No one wants to believe that that could happen,” Civil Rights attorney Tim O’Brien said. “So we don’t know what happened in this particular case. There are allegations. Those kinds of allegations unfortunately have been made before in other places and have been proven to be true.”
Sources indicate the grand jury investigation just started. Interviews with possible victims and corrections officers could take months. If there are charges, it could be June or July before they are filed.
Meantime, if true, O’Brien sees clear civil rights violations.
“The Eighth Amendment says a bar against cruel and unusual punishment. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits arbitrary and conscious shocking behavior.
“If the allegations are true as reported, then both of those constitutional amendments are violated,” he said.
Sources close to this investigation are outraged by the allegations saying, “It’s disgusting that corrections officers are accused of committing the same crimes that inmates here are serving time for.”