HARRISBURG — Following the arrest last month of seven Lackawanna County prison guards for their roles in a pervasive culture of institutional sexual assault of women inmates over many years, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that another guard who had a preliminary hearing today was ordered held for trial.
Mark Johnson faces criminal charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, harassment, institutional sexual assault and indecent assault after the Office of Attorney General’s year-long investigation into Lackawanna County prison guards who used their positions of authority to manipulate and dominate female inmates, perpetuating a culture of sexual abuse and assault at the prison that continued for many years.
Earlier this week, the court held the case of George T. McHale open for further briefings. Last week, the preliminary hearing of another defendant, George Efthimiou, was continued because prosecutors plan to add charges against him. Former guards James Walsh, John Shnipes and Jeffrey Staff were previously held for trial. The preliminary hearings for Paul Voglino is scheduled for April 25. The investigation is active and ongoing.
“We believe there may be other victims or witnesses,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “You don’t have to be afraid. I’m asking you to call a Special Hotline we’ve set up to hear from you. If you have any information about this culture of sexual assault at the prison, call us at 570-846-4074. We’ve already heard from some people in positions of power in the county about this culture of abuse. Now, we want to hear from you.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Simquita Bridges and Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo.
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