Jury Finds Former Lackawanna County Prison Guard Not Guilty on All Counts

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV)  A jury has found a former Lackawanna County Prison Guard Not Guilty on All Counts.

George McHale was accused of having inappropriate contact with a female inmate.  The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick was in the courtroom when the verdict was read.

The jury began deliberations at 12:30.  This case came down to one simple question.  Who would the jury believe? George McHale or the alleged victim. They answered that question in just two hours.

  “Justice has been served, .Justice has been served” Said McHale after the verdict was reached.   An emotional George McHale reacts moments after a jury found him not guilty of forcing a female inmate to perform a sex act on him in December of 2009.

   “My life has been turned upside down since I got arrested February 14th. A time I will never get back ever” McHale told Eyewitness News.

 McHale was one of 7 Lackawanna County corrections officers arrested last year and charged with allegedly forcing female inmates to commit sex acts on them.

  “They took employees out of the jail in handcuffs but they never stopped ton consider the credibility of the individual who were making these allegations and it came out in court without a question” Said Attorney Joe Toczydlowski, McHale’s Attorney.

 The defense team argued that the alleged victim had history of theft and lying to law enforcement… In her closing argument. The Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo, told the jury.

  “This is all about abuse of power and the abuse of trust. She admits she has a criminal past and she had lied to authorities but that doesn’t make her a liar in this incident.”  She went on to say “Mchale chose her to be his victim because he knew nobody would believe her, after all she’s an inmate.”

 “She never told anyone because she was afraid what might happen to her in prison.”

The jury didn’t buy it and in less than two hours reached a verdict of not guilty.

  “You never know with a quick verdict but I think the evidence was of such poor quality there was absolutely not a bit of credible evidence the Attorney General’s office brought in this case” Said Attorney Toczdlowski.

 Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the following statement “While disappointed by today’s verdict, it will not lessen our determination and commitment to prosecute the remaining six prison guards who stand accused of the sexual assault of female inmates in the Lackawanna Prison over many years. Our commitment to investigating and prosecuting sexual assault wherever we find it is unwavering.”

First Report

The jury has reached a verdict in the case of a Former Lackawanna prison guard accused of having inappropriate contact with a female inmate.  The jury found George McHale not guilty on all counts.

“Former Lackawanna County Corrections Office George McHale violated the public trust and committed a horrible crime because he had the power to do so”. That’s what Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Elo told the jury in her closing argument. 

McHale’s Defense lawyer Joseph Tocdydlowski insisted that “The alleged victim has a checkered past and was a known liar”. 

The jury began deliberating at 1 pm.  The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick is at federal court in Scranton and will have the reaction on Eyewitness News beginning at 5 pm.

Follow Andy Mehalshick on Twitter


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