Following last week’s arrests of seven current and former Lackawanna County prison guards for their roles in a pervasive culture of institutional sexual assault of women inmates over many years, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the first of the seven guards to have a preliminary hearing was ordered held for trial today.
Preliminary hearings for the other six defendants have been continued.
James Walsh, 51, of Roaring Brook Township, is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse for using his position of authority as a prison guard to solicit sex from at least two female inmates. The charges against the seven guards address decade-long allegations of the institutional sexual assault of female inmates at the Lackawanna County Prison. Many of the victims hesitated to come forward for fear of reprisal.
“This investigation is ongoing, and we believe there may be other victims or witnesses who may not know how to come forward,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “You don’t have to be afraid. I’m asking you to call a Special Hotline we’ve set up to hear from you. If you have any information about this long-running culture of sexual assault in the Prison, call us at 570-846-4074. We’ve already heard from some people in positions of power in the county about this culture of abuse. Now, we want to hear from you.”