Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Did authorities contribute to inmate's suicide?

On Dec. 17, the New Era stated "Lancaster County Prison inmates relentlessly taunted a suspected child molester, urging him to kill himself, right up until the moment he did so four weeks ago in Lancaster County Prison."

Soon after the Nov. 19th suicide and long before it was mentioned in the print media, NewsLanc received reports of the death from sources who suggested David Villafane had been physically abused over a two week period and that prison authorities falsly told Villafane that loved ones, whom he sought to contact, had died.

On Dec. 5th, NewsLanc published a letter ("Cover Up at the Prison?") that opened "I have learned that the mother of the prisoner who allegedly committed suicide in the Lancaster County Prison is quite alive. I have not confirmed this but hope to tomorrow. This is a huge, horrible cover-up by the prison and LNP. How about some truth to power newslanc?"

NewsLanc is not in a position to explore these allegation and has deferred coverage of possible prison abuse to the New Era. We hope that the allegations will be thoroughly explored by independent authorities.