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Warden who oversaw two Centre Co. prisons removed

Removal comes after employees show concern for safety

Written By: Marc Stempka
Reported By: Gary Sinderson

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The warden who oversaw two state prisons in Centre County was removed from her position as part of an ongoing investigation into security at the facilities.

Officials said security at the prisons came under scrutiny after the brutal rape and assault of a female employee at SCI Rockview in July.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel met with officials Thursday in State College to discuss security changes at the prisons.

Wetzel said the warden, who was not named, was removed from overseeing SCI Rockview and SCI Benner following an internal review policy that revealed employees didnt feel safe at work.

Wetzel said the warden was not fired, but rather reassigned within the state prison system, and declined to say where in the system she was relocated.

Wetzel said the two Centre County prisons now have their own wardens.

Wetzel said state lawmakers continued to exam security at the two facilities as well as others statewide and will review the changes that have been made.

Inmate Omar Best is facing rape and assault charges in relation to the July incident. Best is awaiting his next court hearing in early 2014.

Investigators said Best was alone with the woman for nearly 30 minutes while the assault took place. Wetzel said several staffers at SCI Rockview were disciplined as a result of the incident.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times