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SCI Rockview employee sues over workplace safety

By: WJAC Web Staff and The Associated Press

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- A female employee at a Centre County state prison has filed a lawsuit against supervisors at the prison alleging she was punished for voicing concerns over workplace safety.

The Centre Daily Times reported the lawsuit was filed in county court and was brought by counselor Melissa Reed, alleging that supervisors at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview never acted on workplace safety complaints raised first in October 2011 until after another female employee was attacked and raped at the prison in July 2013.

Following the rape, several state leaders, including state Reps. Kerry Benninghoff and Jake Corman and Gov. Tom Corbett, promised full investigations into the rape and prison workplace safety statewide.

Reed said she was punished for speaking out by being transferred to a lower-level job that required her to work in isolated groups with inmates and had fewer safety protocols than the counselor job.

A Pennsylvania Department of Corrections attorney said Reed offered no evidence of wrongdoing.

Inmate Omar Best was charged in connection with the rape and is awaiting trial.

On Dec. 20, DOC Secretary John Wetzel announced the warden who oversaw SCI Rockview, and next-door SCI Benner, at the time of the July rape was removed from her position and relocated within the state prison system.

New wardens were being assigned to both prisons, Wetzel said at that time.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times