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Authorities say prison guard charged with sexually abusing inmates

By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, CNN
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
Harry Nicoletti, a Pennsylvania prison guard accused of abusing more than 20 inmates, has been arrested.
Harry Nicoletti, a Pennsylvania prison guard accused of abusing more than 20 inmates, has been arrested.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pennsylvania prison guard is accused of sexually and physically abusing 20 inmates
  • Harry Nicoletti was arrested Tuesday evening in Pittsburgh
  • He faces 92 counts, including charges of "institutional sexual assault"

(CNN) -- A Pennsylvania prison guard accused of sexually and physically abusing more than 20 inmates has been arrested, according to the Allegheny County District Attorney's office.

Harry Nicoletti, 59, was arrested Tuesday evening in Pittsburgh, and faces 92 counts of institutional sexual assault, official oppression, terroristic threats and simple assault.

According to the criminal complaint, Nicoletti is accused of targeting male inmates convicted of sex crimes, particularly those convicted of crimes against children.

The 34-page report details what authorities describe as a pattern of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse directed at the inmates.

Nicoletti allegedly raped, slapped, bribed and exposed himself to inmates in the State Criminal Institution at Pittsburgh's "F Block."

One inmate said that he assaulted 15 other inmates under Nicoletti's orders and was rewarded for doing so. He did not elaborate.

Nicoletti told CNN affiliate KDKA that the allegations are false. CNN was unable to reach Nicoletti independently, and it could not be determined whether he has an attorney.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 7.

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