Lawsuit pins blame on York County Prison for prisoner's suicide

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Sep 21, 2018

HARRISBURG — York County Prison and several correctional officers face a lawsuit for allegedly failing to take precautions to keep a suicidal inmate from killing herself, according to court documents.

Richard R. Reilly, administrator of Veronique Aundrea Henry's estate, filed a complaint on Sept. 13, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, against York County, warden Mary Sabol, correctional officers Lynette Moore and Maria Stremmel and others.

He alleges that the defendants violated Henry's rights under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 14, 2016, Veronique Aundrea Henry was admitted to York County Prison following an arrest for a number of alleged crimes. On admission, Henry was under the care of the defendants who allegedly were aware of her suicidal condition. 

Plaintiff Richard R. Reilly claims defendants allegedly ignored Henry's condition and did not take action or precaution to prevent her from hanging herself, such as placing her on suicide watch or providing her adequate psychiatric care and treatment, according to court documents. 

As a result, on Sept. 15, 2016, Henry was found hanging in her cell from a bed sheet and was pronounced dead that same day, according to court documents. 

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to adequately train prison and medical staff employees regarding the warning signs of potential suicides and failed to adequately train them regarding the necessary precautions to avoid suicides, and failed to discipline employees who allow suicides to occur on their watch.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment for compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and such other and further relief as may appear just and appropriate. He is represented by Joshua A. Anstine in York.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Case number 1:18-cv-01803

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

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