Federal Lawsuit Filed in Prison Beating Case at Lackawanna County Prison‏

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY – Nearly six months after an inmate was beaten inside the Lackawanna County prison, a federal lawsuit has been filed on the victim’s behalf.Lawyers for Nicholas Pinto say warning signs were ignored and the assault was even encouraged by prison guards.The lawsuit is nine pages. It does not directly name any elected county officials but does name former warden Janine Donate and three prison guards.”It is sad. It is tragic that this fella was beaten like this,” attorney Patrick Rogan said.Sitting inside his Scranton law office, attorney Patrick Rogan discussed the lawsuit.”This is not an isolated event. The Nicholas Pinto beating was not an isolated event at the Lackawanna County prison,” Rogan said.The lawsuit claims on August 8th, the county failed to adequately protect Pinto, a federal inmate who was awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges.Instead, the lawsuit claims three guards turned a blind eye allowing another inmate, Michael Simonson to attack Pinto and stomp on his head. Court papers indicate one of the three guards was in the parking lot at the time and two others didn’t stop the assault.”The complaint in-and-of-itself is not a sensational complaint and I think that underscores the seriousness of the case,” Rogan said.The lawsuit also says county leaders were told Pinto had been victimized and raped by another inmate months before by a prison chaplain.”You know, prisons are prisons. I’m not saying prisons are nice places, but this one is different,” Rogan said.Attorney Rogan says he’ll try the case with help from the Philadelphia law firm of Kline & Specter. The lawsuit seeks at least $250,000 in damages.”Hopefully through the process, we learn what is really going on, what has been going on and it get corrected and Mr. Pinto gets appropriately compensated and no other abuses occur at the Lackawanna County prison,” Rogan said.Since the beating last year, the former warden Janine Donate resigned from her post and just last week the interim warden started getting guards more training.A spokeswoman for Lackawanna County said she had not yet seen the lawsuit, but also indicated because of the litigation, she wouldn’t be able to comment. She referred all questions to the solicitor for the Lackawanna County prison board. Calls to attorney David Solfanelli were not returned Wednesday afternoon.

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