ADAMS COUNTY — A former corrections officer at the Adams County Prison has been charged with simple assault and official oppression after investigators determined he sprayed an inmate with mace without cause in an incident in April, Adams County District Attorney Brian R. Sinnett announced Tuesday in a press release.
Nicholas John Sekala, 54, of Gettysburg, was charged by State Police after an investigation of the incident, which occurred on April 27 at the prison, which is located on Major Bell Lane in Straban Township.
According to police, prison warden Katy L. Hileman notified authorities and provided surveillance video footage of the incident. In the video, police say, Sekala approached the inmate, who was handcuffed and “calmly standing” in the middle of cell block 2A in custody of another corrections officer. Sekala allegedly sprayed the inmate twice, causing the inmate to fall to the floor.
“(The inmate) was never observed resisting, attempting to harm others or himself, damaging property, committing a crime, or attempting to escape,” during a review of the footage, the charging trooper wrote in the criminal complaint.
The inmate later told investigators that Sekala sprayed him without giving any verbal commands. The inmate suffered no other injuries beyond side effects from the spray, which he said lasted two days, according to police.
Police made several attempts to interview Sekada, but were unsuccessful, according to the complaint.
The charges against Sekada were filed via summons. A preliminary hearing has been set for October 2.
Sinnett thanked State Police “for their thorough investigation in this matter” and noted the cooperation of Hileman and the staff at Adams County Prison.
“The facility is staffed by conscientious professionals who perform in their various roles in an exceptional manner each and every day,” Sinnett said in the press release. “This one isolated action by a rogue former employee should not be meant to construe the facility in any other way.”