State police: Rockview inmate sexually assaulted employee

A female employee at the Rockview state prison was attacked by an inmate Thursday morning, and she showed signs of being sexually assaulted, state police said Friday.

The assault at the prison in Benner Township resulted in a lockdown on Thursday, but few details had emerged until police issued a news release Friday morning.

The inmate, whose name police withheld, went into the area at the prison where the woman worked and physically assaulted her, police said. The woman was knocked unconscious and soon discovered by other prison staff, police said.

Police put the time of the assault between 9 and 9:30 a.m.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said the prison was locked down at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday in response to the assault.

Police said the employee showed signs that she was sexually assaulted, but police didn’t elaborate.

Prison spokesman Jeff Rackovan said the woman, a unit clerk assigned to a housing area, was taken by ambulance to Mount Nittany Medical Center but has since been released.

Rackovan said the alleged attacker was a general population inmate.

“He was an inmate who had some freedom of movement,” he said.

Rackovan didn’t provide additional details about the assault and said it’s not known if the employee was alone or how the inmate got to her. He said the incident remains under internal investigation.

Police too said an investigation will continue but did not provide additional information Friday.

The latest attack on a prison staff member comes two weeks after two corrections officers — a man and a woman — were punched by an inmate in the exercise yard.

Rockovan said the female officer in that assault suffered bruises but no broken bones.