The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

September 19, 2012

Inmate sues Northumberland County for $1 million

He claims guards beat, spit on him

SUNBURY —  A Shamokin man, incarcerated at the Northumberland County Prison, is seeking more than a $1 million in damages claiming he was savagely attacked and spit on by correctional officers before being cast into the “cell of hell.”

One of the corrections officers named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday, has since been dismissed from the prison but county officials on Tuesday refused to explain why he was no longer employed there. All of the other prison employees named in the lawsuit remain on the job.

The alleged episode was originally disclosed in a letter to The Daily Item written by another inmate who said he witnessed the beating.

Jeffrey Adams, 20, of Shamokin, who is serving a time in prison for receiving stolen property and discharging a firearm into a occupied structure, filed the lawsuit in the Pennsylvania Middle District Court in Scranton, naming prison Warden Roy Johnson, Commander Brian Wheary, correction officers Jason Greak, Josh Lehman, William Reber and Sergeants Krista Brouse and Joe Moore.

Moore was terminated on Sept.12 for undisclosed reasons.

Adams claims on Sept. 9, Sgt. Brouse came to the right wing of the prison and accused him and other inmates of throwing water, the lawsuit says.

Brouse then told Adams if he didn’t stop she would get Wheary to approve an “--- -whippin,” to which Adams responded he was going to file a grievance, court documents said.

In the lawsuit, Adams alleged that Brouse and the inmate exchanged words and then (Brouse) left, only to return accompanied by Lehman, Moore, Greak, Reber and another correctional office named Kerstetter.

Adams alleges Greak opened his cell door and punched him in the eye.

Greak, Lehman and Reber then allegedly began to punch, elbow and knee Adams in the abdomen and groin area, according to court documents.

Adams claims he was taken to the ground and kicked several times by Brouse and Reber. Adams said the guards taunted him, and he begged for them to stop the attack.

Brouse eventually ordered the assault to stop and told officers to handcuff and shackle Adams, court documents said.

Adams was then carried out of his cell by his hands and feet and taken to the basement, where he was placed in solitary confinement in what he characterized in the lawsuit as the “cell of hell.”

Adams claims to have received a swollen eye, lip, knees and elbow. He also claims he had multiple bruises and difficulty breathing.

Adams spoke to a nurse, identified only as John Doe, and asked him to look at his injuries and take pictures, but Adams stated the nurse told him he was only there to clean up the blood, court documents said.

Adams said he was left in the basement cell without tissue, soap, toothpaste or clothing.

Adams is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Warden Johnson said he would not comment on any pending lawsuits against the prison.

n Email comments to fscarcella@dailyitem.com.

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