The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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May 15, 2014

Ex-con in $3M suit: Jail guard choked me

‘I told everyone it was coming,’ Clausi says of federal complaint

— WILLIAMSPORT — Stephanie Lynn Olin claims in a $3 million federal lawsuit that a Northumberland County Prison guard wrapped a blanket around her neck when she was sleeping and tried to choke her, and that jailhouse administrators prevented her from reporting the abuse.

Olin, a former inmate whose claims of violence at the prison were validated by the county court in September, filed the complaint Wednesday and names as defendants the county, the prison board, two prison managers and the guard who abused her for violating her constitutional rights protecting her from cruel and unusual punishment.

Among those she specifically names are Warden Roy Johnson, Cmdr. Brian Wheary and correctional officer Holly Olvany.

“I believe the management will break the county with this lawsuit,” said Commissioner Vinny Clausi, a member of the prison board. “I told everyone it was coming. Nobody paid attention to me.”

Olin, a former Sunbury resident who lives in Selinsgrove, filed the federal lawsuit in U.S. Middle District Court through Sunbury attorneys Kymberley Best and Timothy Bowers.

Complaint: Blanket wrapped around neck

On May 20, 2013, Olin was sentenced by then-President Judge Robert Sacavage to nine to 23 months in jail for her part in the city’s cocaine ring.

One day the next week, Olvany hovered over Olin’s bed while she was sleeping, wrapped a blanket around Olin’s neck and began choking and verbally threatening her, according to her complaint.

Olin said she attempted to report Olvany’s conduct to her criminal defense attorney, John McLaughlin, but prison staff blocked her letters to him and refused to let her use the phone.

On several occasions when she was allowed to use the phone, three or four corrections officers sat in the room so that she could not speak freely to McLaughlin without fear of retaliation, according to the lawsuit.

After Olin reported the choking incident to a counselor, she had privileges taken away.

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