The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 7, 2013

Snyder County Prison guard fired for Taser prank

SELINSGROVE —  A Snyder County Prison guard has been fired for using a Taser on a nurse inside the jail after she pulled a prank on him.

The guard, Randy Lee Noll, 27, of 360 Decker Road, Middleburg, is appealing his termination from the job he’d held for about three years.

“It’s unjust,” Teamsters Local 764 President Jimmy Little said. “He should be disciplined, but discharging him is too high.”

Warden Ruth Rush said county officials have “no tolerance for pranks” and would not comment further on Noll’s termination while it’s under appeal.

Rush said she was shocked to learn the details of the incident, which took place at about 9:30 p.m. Oct. 15 inside the 600 Old Colony Road jail.

According to state police at Selinsgrove, Rebecca J. Bickhart, a nurse employed by Prime Care Medical to work at the jail, was joking with Noll in the main control and intake area.

Bickhart admitted playing a prank involving Noll’s lunch box, prompting Noll to get a Taser from a locked cabinet, court records said.

Armed with the weapon used to control unruly inmates in certain situations, Noll allegedly cornered Bickhart in a holding cell and shocked her with a Taser on her right forearm, which left two red marks.

After the alleged assault, court records said, Bickhart said she and Noll went their separate ways.

Rush said she called state police the following day when she learned about the incident and filed a report because it involved a weapon being discharged in the prison.

Noll is charged with possessing instruments of crime, using an electronic incapacitation device, simple assault and harassment. A Feb. 12 preliminary hearing is scheduled before District Judge John H. Reed.

Bickhart is still employed by Prime Care and continues to work at the jail, although Rush said county officials have asked the health care provider to review the matter.

Commissioner and prison board chairman Malcolm Derk would not comment on Bickhart’s continued employment, citing an ongoing review.

Noll was immediately suspended without pay and later terminated because he used a Taser on a co-worker. A hearing on his grievance alleging wrongful termination is scheduled for March.

Derk said the grievance will be vigorously opposed.

“It is just not acceptable,” he said, adding Noll was trained on the proper use of the stun gun, which was held in a locked cabinet at the jail.

In an unrelated case, two former county corrections officers who were suspended a year ago for teasing a colleague about a love note received from a smitten prisoner are still trying to get their jobs back.

The county suspended without pay Heather Rohrbach, a seven-year employee, and William Griffith, a four-year employee, alleging they sexually harassed a co-worker about the note.

They filed a grievance because of the suspensions and a state arbitrator ruled last summer that their behavior was sexual banter, not sexual harassment. The county appealed the ruling and the matter is waiting to be heard in Snyder County Court because the local judges have recused themselves.

n Email comments to mmoore@dailyitem.com.

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