Six Lackawanna County Prison guards fired in wake of sex scandal

A seventh guard had already beenfired

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNT (WBRE/WYOU) - Six Lackawanna County Prison guards, caught up in a sex scandal at the prison, are now former guards.

After two days of administrative hearings, the sIx were terminated from the positions as corrections officers.

Seven corrections officers were indicted by a grand jury and arrested by state troopers in February, accused of using their positions to "manipulate and dominate" female inmates and of also soliciting sex from them.

“The five corrections officers – James Walsh, George McHale, Paul Voglino, Jeffrey Staff and George Efthimiou – charged by the Attorney General's office with various crimes related to the investigation of the Lackawanna County Prison were terminated from their positions at the Prison on March 7, 2018, following their administrative hearing. " said Joseph A. D'Arienzo in a written statement Thursday.

D'Arienzo, the county's Communications Director added, "In addition, a sixth guard – Mark Johnson – was terminated effective March 8, 2018, following his administrative hearing. ”   

The arrests came after a grand jury investigation looking into the systemic sexual abuse and harassment of female inmates in Lackawanna County for more than a decade.

Agents believe the suspects arrested used their positions to "manipulate and dominate" women who were behind bars.

John Shnipes is facing the most serious charges in the prison corruption invesitigaiton.

Investigators say he had access to countless female inmates whom he would proposition for sexual favors.

While working at the Lackawanna County prison, Shnipes allegedly rewarded female inmates who had inappropriate contact with him with cigarettes and other things.

Shnipes is one of the seven men arrested Wednesday.

Another one of the suspects is James Walsh who may have had sexual contact with at least two female inmates.

An attorney for one of the accused men called his client's firing "premature".

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