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Lackawanna County Commissioner Dismissed From Prison Sex Abuse Suit

October 19, 2018 GMT

The attorney representing two women who allege they were sexually abused at Lackawanna County Prison voluntarily dismissed Commissioner Patrick O’Malley from the case. Scranton attorney Matthew Comerford said he learned during pre-trial evidence gathering that he did not have sufficient evidence to support claims against O’Malley, according to a court document filed Thursday morning. Under civil court rules, that means he must correct the record and dismiss all claims against him. At a press conference Thursday, Kevin Hayes, O’Malley’s attorney, said thousands of records were exchanged by the parties and a dozen witnesses gave pre-trial depositions, including several former female inmates. “No evidence has been uncovered to support the plaintiff’s original allegations that Commissioner O’Malley had knowledge that female inmates were being sexually abused,” Hayes said. “To the contrary, there has been testimony offered in this case from former female inmates who describe Commissioner O’Malley as a nice man who treated them with respect and dignity.” Comerford also alleged O’Malley tried to cover up the abuse and he tipped off female correctional officer Casey Calpin that she was being investigated on accusations she failed to report abuse. Hayes said there is “absolutely no evidence” to support those claims. O’Malley, who formerly worked as a prison guard, was among 36 individual defendants named in an amended complaint filed in federal court in December 2016. The suit, which also named the county as a defendant, alleged several guards abused Comerford’s clients and that current and former county and prison employees knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. Commissioners Jerry Notarianni and Laureen Cummings were not named as defendants. The Citizens’ Voice does not identify victims of sexual assault. A stipulation signed by Comerford and attorneys for O’Malley and all other defendants says all parties agree to the dismissal of O’Malley from the suit. Claims against the county and other defendants remain. Hayes said O’Malley is pleased his name has been cleared of the “inflammatory” allegations. “Commissioner O’Malley found the allegations against him to be particularly offensive in light of the fact he has had lifelong involvement with the Women’s Resource Center and other non-profit organizations that support abused women,” Hayes said. O’Malley did not attend the press conference. Attempts to reach him afterward were unsuccessful. Contact the writer: tbesecker@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9137 @tmbeseckerTT