Former corrections officer found guilty of rape and kidnapping charges

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SUNBURY, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — After days of testimony in a Northumberland County courtroom, it takes a jury just one hour to convict a former prison guard John Kurtz on dozens of charges, including rape, and kidnapping.

On Wednesday, a jury of seven men and five women found the former SCI Coal Township corrections officer guilty on all 43 counts he faced from a series of kidnappings, rapes and home invasions between 2012 and 2017.

The jury delivered the lengthy verdict as Kurtz stared blankly ahead. Family of victims and some of the victims themselves began clapping and celebrating once the jury was dismissed — and again as Kurtz was led away from the courthouse in handcuffs.

Earlier in the day, both the defense and prosecution delivered their closing arguments in the case, which centered around two rapes and kidnappings, and two attempted rapes and attempted kidnappings that took place in Montour, Columbia, and Northumberland Counties.

Despite attempts by the defense to delegitimize the commonwealth’s DNA evidence and Kurtz’s own statements to investigators, it took only about 55 minutes for the jury to return with their verdict.

The case will now move into the sentencing phase. Judge Charles Saylor said a sentencing hearing will take place within the next 90 days.

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