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Centre Co. prison worker sues over SCI Rockview rape case
By: WJAC Web Staff and The Associated Press
BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A Centre County state prison employee who authorities said was beaten, choked unconscious and raped by an inmate in a prison office is suing the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, the prison and several officials and employees.
WJAC-TV news partner the Centre Daily Times reported Thursday the federal lawsuit filed this week argues that safety procedures implemented after the attack of a female staffer should have been in place "long before any civilian employee was victimized by an inmate."
Investigators said the woman, a clerk who wasn't to have contact with inmates, sounded an emergency whistle, but no help came during the July attack at SCI Rockview.
Inmate Omar Best is accused of assaulting the woman. His trial on charges related to the incident, including rape, is set for May 20. Investigators said Best was in the same room as the woman for almost a half hour before she was discovered by another employee.
Corrections officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Following the incident, several state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett called for a "full investigation" into the matter and to review security procedures at all state prisons.
The warden who was responsible for overseeing SCI Rockview and neighboring SCI Rockview was fired, but reassigned elsewhere in the prison system.
The head of the state DOC said new security procedures are under review for the prison system, and both SCI Rockview and SCI Benner now have separate wardens.