Appeals court upholds 7 Pa. guards' suspension

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Commonwealth Court has reversed a labor arbitrator’s decision to reinstate seven suspended guards at the state prison in Pittsburgh, four of whom are awaiting trial on charges they abused inmates serving child-sex sentences.

The court ruled three other guards who had the charged dropped or thrown out against them should still remain suspended, too.

The court found the seven guards didn’t file grievances challenging their suspensions within 15 days as required by law. The court disagreed with the arbitrator who ruled a year ago that the indefinite suspensions violated a labor contract so the time limits didn’t apply.

The focus of the investigation remains 60-year-old Harry Nicoletti of Coraopolis, who is scheduled for trial in January but claims charges that he raped or otherwise abused child molesters at the prison are “made up.”

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