The wife of an accused sex offender who committed suicide after the denial of his bail
reduction request blames the medical staff at the prison for not properly monitoring her husband's psychiatric condition, according to a wrongful death suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Pamela Minnich, of Media, Pa., seeks damages in excess of $175,000 on five counts against the Montgomery County government and Prime Care Medical, a third-party health care company contracted to provide medical care to detainees and inmates at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.
According to the complaint, Minnich's husband, David, was arrested on Oct. 16, 2012, on multiple counts of corruption of a minor, indecent sexual assault of persons under the age of 13 and under the age of 16 and aggravated indecent assault of a child. Unable to pay the $500,000 bail, Minnich was taken to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility as a pretrial detainee.
Having never been incarcerated before, Minnich began to display signs of extreme anxiety, the complaint says. According to the claim, Minnich came under the care of medical staff employed by Prime Care Medical and was placed on a schedule for a psychiatrist.
The complaint accuses the defendants of deliberately delaying the psychiatric appointment and ignored Minnich's increased warnings that his mental state was deteriorating. He was finally seen on Dec. 3, 2012, but the suit says the psychiatrist deliberately ignored the signs of depression and suicide and refused to place Minnich under any medication or treatment.
"Defendants were also aware that Mr. Minnich was a former drug and alcohol abuser, that he had been accused of committing a sex crime against a minor, that he was facing serious jail time, and that he had never been incarcerated before," the complaint says. "All of which were red flags informing defendants that Mr. Minnich was particularly vulnerable to suicide."
Shortly after the session, Minnich appeared before a judge who denied his bail reduction request, sending him into "an emotional/mental tailspin," according to the claim. On Dec. 20, 2012, Minnich committed suicide in his jail cell by hanging himself with his bed sheets.
The claim says that the prison and medical staff failed to place Minnich on an appropriate suicide watch or provide mental health treatment or medication. The plaintiffs say that the lack of action not only displayed deliberate indifference for the safety of inmates and detainees, but was also an accepted policy by the county government as a way to save money.
The plaintiff is represented by Alan Denenberg of Abramson & Denenberg.
The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-07236-RB.