Northumberland County Prison, in Sunbury, has agreed to pay a former deputy prison warden and his wife $87,500 as part of a settlement reached before a trial that was scheduled for January began in U.S. Middle District Court.
John Conrad and his wife, Leslie, sued the county government and the county prison board after Conrad was fired in 2009 for what he claimed was retaliation for reporting abuses at the prison and for tesifying in depositions before a state grand jury, according to Joshua J. Cochran, an attorney with Schemery and Zicolello, 333 Market St.
Conrad's suit said his constitutional right to free speech was violated, that a conspiracy existed to violate his rights and he was punished for speaking out when he reported abuse by staff and prison inmates. Conrad was appointed deputy prison warden in October 2001.
As part of the settlement, the county acknowledged no wrongdoing in firing Conrad, said Michael Zicolello, a partner with Cochran.
"It's for his lost wages and he's willing to accept it," Zicolello said. "We agreed to voluntarily dismiss all of the other defendants in the case," he said.
The terms of settlement were reached in November and a letter was sent to Judge John E. Jones III, but the final paperwork was completed last week, Zicolello said.