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Sadistic: New York prison guard accused of waterboarding inmates, beating their genitals

February 16, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Sadistic: New York prison guard accused of waterboarding inmates, beating their genitals

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A sadistic prison guard who has cost the state of New York $877,637 in legal settlements over accusations of assault and sexual harassment is now under investigation over allegations that he waterboarded two inmates and horrifically beat them in their genital area.

Lieutenant Troy Mitchell, with assistance from other guards, is accused of pouring buckets of water over the mouths and noses of two bound prisoners at the Auburn Correctional Facility in separate episodes.

He also reportedly grabbed and twisted their genitals before he punched and whacked their groins with a baton, The New York Daily News reported.

In one instance back in September 2016, Mitchell beat inmate Matthew Raymond so brutally that he now requires a catheter to urinate, according to civil court documents filed by Raymond’s attorney, Joan Magoolaghan, in Albany Supreme Court.

“Relentless in his attack, Lieutenant Mitchell directed a corrections officer to spread Raymond’s legs apart, after which the lieutenant forcefully grabbed and twisted Mr. Raymond’s testicles and penis, and called him a ‘stupid little bitch,’” the filing revealed.

Lt. Troy Mitchell (above) is accused of shackling two inmates and pouring pales of water over their mouths

The inspector general’s office for the state Department of Correctional Services and Community Renewal previously investigated the accusations into Raymond’s behavior but concluded that they were unfounded.

However, the office relaunched its probe when a second inmate made an identical allegation against Mitchell, who has been a corrections officer since 1986.

Magoolaghan’s filing — which asks DOCCS to turn over video footage and incident reports related the alleged assault — also indicated that a third Auburn inmate made related complaints against Mitchell before 2016.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, DOCCS said that the 54-year-old officer was suspended from his position without pay last August, as part of an ongoing investigation.

However, the man was accused of horrific behavior long before he was suspended— and the allegations did not just stem from inmates.

Penny Collins, a female officer at Auburn, received a $787,837 payout against DOCCS along with $150,000 in backpay in 2012, five years after she filed a suit which accused Mitchell and other guards of sexual harassment.

Collins accused him of continuous verbal abuse and bullying, which included him describing his excrements to her, bragging that he once told his mother that she had “nice t-ts” and remarked that a wedding ring Collins wore resembled one his wife had that “got lost in his ass.” She also said he often discussed the size of inmates’ penises.

“This is one of the sickest people I’ve ever met,” the 56-year-old told the Daily News last week.

She said she was so worried about Mitchell’s history of abuse with colleagues and inmates that she wrote a letter to a senior investigator at DOCCS’ inspector general’s office back in 2006, warning him that his behavior was going unreported. At the time, Mitchell was just promoted to lieutenant.

“Someone must look into Mitchell and his actions as an employee,” she stated. “With this promotion, he now has a substantial amount of authority, and I fear for the people he turns his abuse on.”

Mitchell is accused of waterboarding and beating the testicles of Matthew Raymond (R). He was also accused of savagely beating inmate Dino Caroselli (L) in 2002

Collins said a detective interviewed her one time after she wrote the letter, but never heard from anyone again.

“If they had taken it seriously 12 years ago, none of this would be an issue now,” she added.

Even before her claims, Mitchell, and other guards at the facility were under investigation.

The U.S. Department of Justice began investigating the Auburn Correctional Facility over accusations of excessive force in 2005.

The federal investigators concluded their probe in 2007 when the five-year statute of limitations on the purported misconduct expired.

However, the investigation ran parallel to suits filed by inmates, including two that accused Mitchell of playing a part in beatdowns.

In one example, Dino Caroselli — who is serving life behind bars for a botched robbery in Brooklyn that resulted in a shootout with officers — received a settlement of $70,000 in 2008. He alleged that Mitchell and other officers broke his hands, ankle, nose, and tooth during an assault in 2002.

In the other suit, Richie Thomas, who was serving life for burglary, was issued a $19,800 settlement in 2008 after he accused officers of assaulting him while he was bound to a utility room in 2002. Mitchell was identified as a defendant, but it is not clear what his role was in the attack.

Mitchell has rejected the allegations by Collins, Caroselli, and Thomas.

DOCCS indicated in a statement that under the current contract with the prison officers union, it is restricted in its ability to discipline correction officers. However, it added that it is working to bolster its power to terminate bad actors through a new security contract with the union.

“This department has zero tolerance for behavior that jeopardizes the safety and security of our facilities and the individuals who live and work there,” the agency stated.

“All allegations of abuse are investigated by our revamped Office of Special Investigations and those found to be at fault face the toughest discipline allowable.”

After years of criticism, the Cuomo administration has expanded the prison system’s Office of Special Investigations. The entire department was reorganized and is now led by two lawyers with prosecutorial experience.

Nonetheless, prisoner advocates maintain that verified cases of officer abuse rarely end with charges.

Prison officials also indicated that the state launched a $15 million capital project in 2016 to install additional security cameras in Auburn. As for the purported waterboarding, DOCCS could not say when detectives would finish their investigation into Mitchell, who made an annual salary of $97,478 before he was suspended.

Penny Collins (above) received a $787,837 judgment against DOCCS plus $150,000 in backpay after filing a lawsuit accusing Mitchell and other prison officers of sexually harassing her

Raymond, who had a traumatic brain injury before he went to prison and suffers from seizures as a result, said that Mitchell assaulted him after he was taken to a hospital in Auburn for care.

The 29-year-old started serving a four-to-eight-year sentence in 2015 for burglary.

In September 2016, Raymond experienced a seizure and was brought to the hospital in handcuffs and a belly chain.

Officers later accused him of being disruptive at the hospital, even though records show he was shackled the entire time and was disoriented.

Despite needing care, Raymond was quickly released after he saw a nurse practitioner and was brought back to the correctional facility. However, on the ride home, he experienced another seizure and vomited on himself.

At the penitentiary, he was brought to a small room in the medical unit, where Mitchell and five other guards assaulted him while he was shackled.

The attack began with waterboarding before Mitchell struck Raymond in the face, neck, and chest.

The attack proceeded — even when another officer intervened to say Raymond had a seizure.

When Raymond attempted to close his legs, Mitchell punched his groin and repeatedly hit him in the area with a baton.

After the attack, Raymond did not receive any medical attention, even though he had blood in his urine.

“It was not until January 2017, after his ability to urinate ceased and he fainted from toxicity that he was taken to the Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse,” the filing indicated.

His doctors concluded that his injuries occurred after he suffered blunt-force trauma to his genitals. Collins said she was saddened but not shocked that Mitchell was still employed by DOCCS after she received her settlement in 2012.

Prior to her lawsuit, she filed a complaint in 2006. Collins said she ultimately quit her job and became a family and marriage therapist.

“I’ve never been sorry that I filed the lawsuit,” she continued. “I am sorry that the state kept him employed. I knew that other people were going to be hurt. I’m sorry for those inmates. I’m sorry for the officers. I am sorry for everyone who has to be around that man.”

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