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Former state prison employee charged with institutional sexual assault

A former employee at the State Correctional Institution at Frackville has been charged with institutional sexual assault after she allegedly pursued an intimate relationship with an inmate.

Jennifer Newberry, 48, a former unit manager, was investigated after the security office was informed in July that a male inmate had been spending significant time in her office.

Investigations showed Newberry had sent sexually explicit photographs and videos of herself to the inmate and that they had sex several times, according to Amanda N. Witiak, criminal investigator with the Department of Corrections Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence.

According to Witiak:

Newberry resigned from her position July 28, raising suspicions.

The inmate, who was housed in the C block, said that he worked as Newberry’s clerk after she began working there in late 2021.

The inmate alleged that he and Newberry had sex in her office about 10 times since Feb. 14. The two also communicated via email, with Newberry using the name Krystalee Velasquez.

Newberry gave the inmate a cellphone so they could keep in touch while she was on vacation in July. Newberry sent him the explicit materials during that time, using her personal cellphone. After returning to work, Newberry obtained the phone from the inmate and later destroyed it.

In an Aug. 29 interview, Newberry told the officer that she had been in a romantic relationship with the inmate since late 2022.

Newberry denied having sex with him and said the door to her office was always open during their interactions.

The inmate told Witiak that, before returning his phone to Newberry, he sent his sister screenshots of text messages, photographs and videos from Newberry as an insurance policy in case the defendant tried to get him in trouble.

In additional to the sexual assault charge, Newberry faces misdemeanor counts of contraband; taking or delivering obscene material to a correctional institute; and tampering with physical evidence.

Newberry remained free following arraignment before District Judge Edward J. Tarantelli, Frackville.

Source: Berkshire mont

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