Aug. 23--Two Indiana County jail guards who lost their jobs upon being implicated in a prison sex scandal a year ago hope to avoid trial by entering a probation program for first-time offenders.
Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty confirmed on Wednesday that former guard Margaret Dailey, 51, of Indiana, was accepted this week into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time offenders.
If Dailey successfully completes the one-year probation program, she is eligible to have her criminal record expunged. Entry into the program is not an admission of guilt.
Dougherty said the second guard, Molly Gross, 43, of Ligonier, applied last week to enter the program. Dougherty said his office will determine over the next month whether she is eligible.
State police allege Gross sexually assaulted three victims at the county jail in White Township between September 2009 and September 2010. The three inmates testified against Gross at a preliminary hearing in February.
Dailey was allegedly romantically involved with Gross at the time and became jealous after hearing about the alleged affairs. She was charged with threatening an inmate and official oppression.
Dailey's attorney, Robert Bell, said yesterday his client has denied the charges since the beginning.
"I really can't comment any more on it at this time because she hasn't even started the (ARD) program yet," Bell said.
Gross' attorney, J. Allen Roth of Latrobe, argued during his client's hearing that she is innocent.
He said the accusers were "scheming," concocting stories to seek retribution against the guards, who were performing their duties.
The alleged sexual encounters spanned several months, according to the testimony.
Jury selection in Gross's trial for institutional sexual assault, terroristic threats and official oppression was slated to begin this week before President Judge William Martin.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce
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