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Suspended SCI Pittsburgh Guard To Stand Trial

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A suspended guard at SCI Pittsburgh will stand trial on 101 counts related to the alleged physical and sexual abuse of inmates.

KDKA's Harold Hayes reports 16 counts were dropped.

More than two dozen were expected to testify during a three-day preliminary hearing against 60-year-old Harry Nicoletti. Many of them are still incarcerated.

Some of the testimony boiled down to the creditability of inmates. Ed Gray, an inmate who testified Friday morning, claimed his original statement to investigators was coerced.

"I indicated that he felt he was coerced in making the statement that he did, that he only did it because he was told he would be charged and placed on – have restrictive sanctions if he did not cooperate and to corroborate an earlier statement made by another inmate and he came in today quite frankly admitted that he lied," Steve Colafella, Nicoletti's defense attorney, said.

Toward the end of the hearing, District Magistrate Eugene Riccardi looked over the evidence and dropped 16 counts.

In a series of e-mails sent to KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin back in September, Nicoletti denied the charges.

"They're false allegations Marty. Simple as that. They're false allegations," Nicoletti said.

According to the criminal complaint, Nicoletti allegedly sexually assaulted a number of inmates after identifying them as convicted sex offenders.

A former inmate, who is now out on parole, was one of the witnesses who testified during Wednesday's hearing. He said he was an inmate worker in the area where Nicoletti was assigned.

According to the former inmate's testimony, one prisoner was forced to strip while Nicoletti allegedly poked him with a broom stick.

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