by Julian Heicklen

Listed below is a chronological series of events that Robert Frederick BB­7883 claims happened to him.

Undated Events

Mr. Frederick claims that he has been called a nigger and dickhead. He was at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Greene County for 2-1/2 years without a Misconduct Report, when all of a sudden his problems started. He has reported to the shift commander, Captain Crump, and to Lt. Ford that he fears for his life. Nothing has been done.

Mr. Frederick claims that the prison tampers with his mail. It confiscated a confidential letter to U. S. Attorney Linda Green and FBI special agent John C. O'Conner.

Sexual Assault of March 2, 1997

Mr. Frederick claims that he was handcuffed behind his back by Lt. Forte on March 2, 1997. Mr. Frederick then claims that Lt. Forte fondled his shoulders, grabbed and fondled his penis, and asked to perform oral sex on Frederick. In exchange, Lt. Forte would not take Frederick to the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) on a bogus unauthorized- area misconduct. Mr. Frederick filed a grievance, which was denied, and appealed through channels to Harrisburg.

August 6­20, 1997

There is a Grievance dated September 18, 1997, from Mr. Frederick to Mary Ann Williams, Grievance Coordinator at SCI Graterford. The grievance was filed against Captain Smith of Security for failure to answer requests and memos, and for failing to initiate an investigation. Mr. Frederick accuses Captain Smith of violating the code of conduct on August 6, 8 (twice), 11, 12, 15, 16, and 20.

August 10, 1997

There is a note of August 10, 1997, to no specified person claiming that a prescription for medicine prescribed at Graterford by the psychological staff on July 15, 1997, has expired and has not been renewed. Mr. Frederick claims he needs the medicine because he has dreams and visions of guards beating him again while handcuffed behind his back. He cannot sleep, he is under a lot of stress and anxiety, and is very depressed. He believes he needs counseling and therapy.

There is a Grievance GRA­1963­97 dated August 12, 1997, from Mr. Frederick to Mary Ann Williams at SCI Graterford. He states that on August 10, 1997, he blacked out, was unconscious, and had to be carried by stretcher to the hospital. Also on August 10, 1997, his back was in excruciating pain. The Grievance is filed against Lt. Wright, who compounded the pain by putting handcuffs on Mr. Frederick behind his back. The handcuffs were so tight that scars are still on his wrists. The nurse even told Lt. Wright to put a leather belt on Mr. Frederick from the front with the hand cuffs. But Lt. Wright disregarded the pain and injuries and made mockery of Mr. Frederick as if it was a joke. Mr. Frederick asked the Lt. why would he put the cuffs on him like that knowing his back was injured. Lt. Wright responded that he could do as he wants and not to question anything he does, either to him or anyone else. Captain Moore said that Lt. Wright was wrong and would be so informed.

August 29. 1997

There is Grievance GRA­2096­97 from Mr. Frederick dated September 2, 1997, to Miss Mary Ann Williams, Grievance Coordinator at SCI Graterford. He says that on August 29, 1997, he was having severe traumatic pains in breathing. Then he felt light-headed and dizzy. He was experiencing great difficulty in breathing. Nurse Jodi stated that after she made her rounds, she would come see him. This was at 12 noon. However instead of returning, she sent Correctional Officer (CO) Bisbee. For security reasons, he would not let Mr. Frederick out of his cell to have his vital signs checked. Later that night, Mr. Frederick blacked out at 10:45 PM, was taken by stretcher to the infirmary, and connected an EKG machine. Mr. Frederick's complaint was that Nurse Jodi did not fulfill her duty, and that CO Bisbee interfered with a medical order. There is a response to the Grievance with two illegible signatures. The response says that Nurse Jodi was unable to see Mr. Frederick in the examining room. When she talked to Frederick, he appeared to be in no respiratory distress or in a life-threatening situation.

September 17, 1997

There is a letter of September 17, 1997, from Mr. Frederick to the Mental Health Director at SCI Graterford. Mr. Frederick points out that he was beaten on June 4, 1997, and on August 6, 1997. Mr. Frederick was told by the guards that when he returned to SCI Greene County, he would be killed, and that they would get away with it, as they have done before. Mr. Frederick is in total fear. He cannot sleep, he is not eating, he has nightmares. He recounts the incident with Lt. Forte on March 2, 1997. He was extremely distraught, disoriented, and humiliated. He requested counseling and therapy.

September 24­29, 1997

There are affidavits from Link Dowell CM­5865 that tell how Mr. Frederick was denied necessities on September 29, 1997. This supports a Grievance from Mr. Frederick to Lt. Nickelson.

There are two affidavits from Link Dowell CM­5865 which state that from September 24­29, 1997, he heard inmate Frederick in FA­9 cell request numerous times to the COs on all three shifts to turn on the water, so that he could flush his commode and wash himself. Mr. Frederick was denied running water, soap, towel, linen, toilet paper, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Also he had no under clothes. Inmate made numerous requests for these items, but was denied at every request. Requests were made to COs Powell, Saunders, and Lt. Nickelson on the 6­2 shift; to COs Clovis, Kolvachuck, and Lt. Grainey on the 2-10 shift. The first shift (6­2) would not let Frederick take a shower on September 24 or 26, 1997. Mr. Frederick's legal mail was confiscated by CO Bupka, and Mr. Frederick was not issued a confiscation slip. On numerous occasions, Mr. Frederick's yard (1-hour mandated recreation) was denied in retaliation for his complaint against the 6­2 shift. On October 28, 1997, Mr. Frederick purposely was left in the yard for 2-1/2 hours without a coat when the temperature was cold enough to see your breath. When the inmates on FA block asked the guards to bring Frederick in, the COs on the 6­2 shift refused to hand out supplies (toilet paper, Request slips, and matches) for a period of 4 days. Inmates were instructed to worry about themselves and not others, or the next time they would go 2 weeks without supplies.

Mr. Dowell witnessed CO Clovis tell inmate Frederick that he would enter his cell and beat him with a night stick. Mr. Dowell has interrupted arguments between CO Clovis and Frederick, telling CO Clovis to leave Frederick alone, because Clovis would stop at Frederick's cell and threaten him with bodily harm on a daily basis. CO Clovis would issue Misconduct Reports against Mr. Frederick for actions done by Mr. Dowell. Mr. Dowell has informed Hearing Examiner Ben Ansell of this at 2 Misconduct hearings. The Misconducts were not given to Dowell, because his disciplinary custody (DC) time already exceeds his maximum sentence. However the Misconducts against Frederick would give him additional DC time. Mr. Dowell has heard CO Clovis gloat about his actions. Mr. Dowell was in FA­8 cell next door to Mr. Frederick.

October 6, 1997

There is a note to Lt. Ford of October 6, 1997, about continued retaliation, abuse and Ford's investigation. This goes over some of the previous complaints.

October 9, 1997

There is a letter of October 9, 1997, from Mr. Frederick to Thomas Sieverling about Continued Retaliatory Harassment. Mr. Frederick claims that his life and well-being are in danger. He states that he was assaulted going to SCI Graterford on June 4, 1997, and again on August 6, 1997, on the way to court. Pictures were taken at SCI Smithfield and SCI Graterford. Mr. Frederick is requesting protection from continued harassment and intimidation. Mr. Frederick requested a separation transfer as soon as possible.

October 13­14, 1997

There is a note dated November 17, 1997, about sick call. Mr. Frederick was seen by a neurologist at SCI Graterford. Prior to leaving for court on August 6, 1997, he was severely beaten, kicked, and stomped in the head by 13 guards while handcuffed behind his back. At SCI Graterford, Mr. Frederick became unconscious on 3 occasions and had to be committed to the hospital. After seeing Dr. Wells, he was signed up to see the neurologist, who recommended that he go to an outside hospital. On October 13, 1997, Mr. Frederick went to Waynesburg Hospital for an EEG cat scan to check for brain damage from the assault of August 6, 1997, as well as why he fell unconscious 3 times at SCI Graterford and once at SCI Greene County on October 4, 1997. Mr. Frederick requested to see the EEG results that were taken on October 14, 1997.

October 16, 1997

There is a note from Mr. Frederick to Deputy Superintendent White dated October 16, 1997, about being threatened by CO Gees. On that day he was threatened with physical abuse and assault by CO Gees, who was working on the RHU 6­2 shift. This was the second time that Mr. Frederick was threatened by an officer that assaulted him on August 6, 1997. Mr. Frederick was told that he would be killed when he returned from SCI Graterford on August 6, 1997. Mr. Frederick blames Deputy Superintendent White for knowing about the problem and doing nothing to protect him. He accuses White of falsifying documents to cover up the harassment.

There is a note to Major Hassett of October 15, 1997, about falsified, frivolous reports and to deliberate indifference and violation of the 8th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Mr. Frederick complained that he received an inaccurate response and a bogus investigation. He accuses Hassett of being responsible for the danger that he is in and doing nothing about it. He had to receive psychological therapy and treatment, and medication because of Lt. Forte fondling of his penis and asking him to perform oral sex on him.

October 17, 1997

There is a letter from Superintendent Ben Varner to Harold Pryor (Frederick's uncle) dated October 17, 1997. He received Mr. Pryor's letter of October 4, 1997. Superintendent Varner cannot address the specific allegations without authorization from the inmate. Varner states that Mr. Frederick is treated at all times in a professional manner by staff at SCI Greene County. Mr. Frederick's allegations have been and will continue to be reviewed and investigated by staff for merit and substantiation. Mr. Frederick has been interviewed concerning any and all allegations he has raised and apprised of investigative outcomes. Inmate Frederick is at all times afforded all privileges and basic necessities as dictated by Department policy.

October 20, 1997

There is an affidavit by Bryant Davis, who reported that on October 20, 1997, as he was waiting for the yard, he overheard CO Putman state to Mr. Frederick, who sleeps right next to him in FA­9 cell: Are you suing me Frederick? Frederick never answered. This is not the first time that Mr. Davis has heard CO Putman ask this question.

October 27­28, 1997

There is a note to Sergeant Norman of October 27, 1997, about being denied yard. He attacks Norman for taking his yard.

There is a request of October 30, 1997, to Ben Varner about threats and intimidation by CO Powell and Sgt. Stazinski. He complains that on this day and October 28, 1997, CO Powell took away his yard.

There is a response from Ben Varner dated October 31, 1997, saying that Mr. Frederick's request has been referred to Lt. Nickelson in RHU 6 and to 2 lieutenants The response is to a Request received October 31, 1997, about threats and intimidation from CO Powell, Sergeant Stazinski, and other RHU guards. The request was about the fact that Frederick lost his yard on this day (unspecified) and on October 28, 1997. Mr. Frederick was told by CO Powell he could not get any toilet paper or Request slips and told to "Put that on a Request slip dick head." Frederick asked to see Lt. Nickelson, the Superior Officer of the RHU unit, but he never saw him. Frederick gave a Request for Grievance slip to CO Raposky, who tore up the Request and threw it in the garbage. When Frederick complained, COs Raposky and Powell said: "This prison is Greene County. We are not a part of the bureau of Corrections, and we can do what we want to." Frederick states that he wrote Major Duke, but nothing was done. His yard was taken. He has no toilet paper or request slips. Every day is something new. He was told by Judge Cavin to submit a request to counselor asking for forms and an attorney and an attorney phone call. Frederick sent Counselor Scott Howell 2 Requests and Unit Manager Zaboroski requesting to see him about contacting an attorney and his family. His requests have been ignored. Mr. Frederick asks that Lt. Nickelson be informed and he recounts the many complaints listed in other memos.

On November 30, 1997, Mr. Frederick wrote to Superintendent Ben Varner that his response to his Grievance was frivolous. He claims that Nickelson and Norman are his Gestapo agents. He complains that Varner's investigation is meritless. He accuses Varner, who, as Superintendent, is responsible for all that is going on. Mr. Frederick claimed that Varner has a history of this and beat him with other guards while he was at Huntingdon just because he is black. He also accuses Varner of unexplained deaths at Huntingdon. He accuses him of falsifying documents. He goes on at length accusing Varner of each of the problems he has encountered at SCI Greene County. He claims that former nurse Kim Sumey was found guilty of bringing pot, heroin and a cellular phone into death row. Also a male and female guard were caught red-handed on a state police tape recorder bringing pot into the prison. He claims that Lt. Nickelson and Lt. Tustin have arrests for assaults on the street. After this long diatribe of abuses that Varner is guilty of, Mr. Frederick ended by saying "Have a nice day."

November 5, 1997

The situation has gotten worse. He is badgered, harassed, called nigger, and other ethnic slurs. He has been called nigger by CO Clovis, who on or about November 5 said he would run into his cell and beat him.

November 12­14, 1997

There is a request of November 14, 1997, to Sharon Beerman. Mr. Frederick states that his yard and showers were taken from him on November 12, 1997, by COs Saunders and Endres. He has filed requests for two grievances to Sergeant Norman and Lt. Nickelson. He constantly is harassed for no reason.

There is a request of November 14, 1997, to Major Duke about denial of yard and shower, and continuous harassment by COs Saunders and Endres. He lost yard and showers on November 12, 1997. Lt. Nickelson has not made an investigation. He has not talked to other inmates. He claims that Major Duke keeps sending the Requests back to Lt. Nickelson.

There is a note of November 14, 1997, to Major Duke. It complains of denial of yard, and continuous harassment by Sergeant Norman and COs Saunders and Raposky. Today for the 2nd time this week, these 3 officers took his yard for no reason. Lt. Nickelson used words of untruth to you.

There is a request of November 14, 1997, to Sergeant Norman. It said that after you had seen me sign up for yard, CO Raposky said I was not on the list. For no reason my showers and yard were taken by COs Saunders and Endres. I have asked for two Grievance forms, but you have not given them to me.

November 23, 1997

There is a request to Dr. Teauter, SCI Greene County Psychiatrist, dated November 23, 1997. It says Hello Ma'am. He is uncomfortable and stressed and cannot sleep at night. He has dreams of the guards beating him again. His cell in the hole has been searched on 3 different occasions by the same guards that beat him on August 6, 1997. He also has bad thoughts and feelings against Lt. Forte ever since the sexual encounter. He is scared to eat certain foods because he has found bowel movement and urination in his food trays on 2 occasions. He is not eating much at all. You promised that you would get back to me after our last meeting on October 7, 1997. Please speak to me and provide a remedy. These guards said that they would kill me (Captain Sparbaine) and I fear for my life. It seems that no-one at SCI Greene cares or will help me. Mr. Frederick claims that he also is harassed by retaliatory tactics and ethnic intimidation. He is being denied yard, showers, supplies, and law library.

November 27, 1997

There is a note to Sergeant Norman dated November 27, 1997, about repeated denial of supplies. CO Endres denied him toilet paper and supplies. He complained to Sergeant Norman in the control panel, but Sergeant Norman ignored him.

December 2, 1997

Tonight (December 2) Mr. Frederick was threatened again and denied toilet paper. Mr. Frederick claims that he has been told that he will be killed.

December 4­8, 1997

There is Request from Mr. Frederick of December 5, 1997, to Superintendent Varner. After seeing Mr. Macon from the Office of Professional Relations (OPR) on December 4, 1997, Mr. Frederick was told by CO Endres to enjoy your lunch "Dan Rather." He also was told by CO Powell "You keep complaining about what goes on at SCI Greene and you will be dealt with." He complains again that the prison is tampering with his legal mail.

There is a Request to Superintendent Ben Varner on December 8, 1997. Mr. Frederick saw an investigator from OPR on December 4 and 5, 1997. Inmate had a legal letter from a US attorney taken from his cell on December 5, 1997. Mr. Frederick was harassed by COs Powell and Rhodes and Sergeant Norman because he saw the investigator. Mr. Frederick was told by those officers that if he kept complaining or putting out paper work, he would pay dearly for it. Two inmates who have signed affidavits as witnesses and who spoke to Mr. Macon of OPR have been punished. Frederick fears for his life and is constantly harassed. Confidential mail to the FBI was taken by CO Bupka and turned over to Security. He was brought back to SCI Greene after being assaulted by 12 SCI Greene County rogue agents while he was handcuffed behind his back.

Grievance GRA­2096­97

There is a letter of December 10, 1997, from Superintendent Donald T. Vaughn of SCI Graterford upholding the decision reached by the Grievance Officer, because it comes down to Frederick's word against that of the nurse. There is a letter from Robert S. Bitner, Chief Hearing Examiner, dated December 2, 1997, which is the final review of Grievance GRA­2096­97. Mr. Bitner dismissed the appeal, because Mr. Frederick suffered no harm from any delay in being examined on August 29, 1997. Mr. Frederick subsequently was seen by Ms. Hale and appeared to be in no respiratory distress at that time. You subsequently were cleared for transfer and are now at SCI Greene, which renders this Grievance moot.

Misconduct A43996

There is a letter of November 12, 1997, from Robert S. Bitner, Chief Hearing Examiner, which is a response to an appeal of Misconduct A43996. He has reviewed the misconduct report, the hearing report and related documents, Frederick's appeal to the PRC and its response, and the appeal to the Superintendent and his response. Bitner concurs with the previous responses.

In a Letter postmarked April 6, 1998, Mr. Frederick complains that atrocities at SCI Greene are getting worse. Captain Roach told Sgt. Tanner that if Mr. Frederick did not stop asking for medical attention or a doctor to beat him and spray him with pepper spray. The whole unit had to be evacuated because Captain Roach sprayed two prisoners with huge amounts of pepper spray. The sprayed prisoners have records of mental problems and suicide attempts.


Perhaps Mr. Frederick is a raving paranoid. With his living conditions, it would be a miracle if he was not. By his own admission, he needs psychiatric help, which is being denied to him. However there are some claims of his that are hard to refute.

There are witnesses that corroborate some of Mr. Frederick's claims. Similar irregularities have happened to other inmates.

Grievance and Request forms are denied to Mr. Frederick, since many of them are written on plain or scrap paper. There is no response to many of them, indicating that they are destroyed by the guards and not delivered.

When a response is received or a decision appealed, it is clear that no investigation was made. Often the recipient of the response or the appeal officer just consulted the person against whom the complaint was made. The response of Superintendent Varner of December 17, 1997, to the letter from Harold Pryor of December 4, 1997, is classic. Superintendent Varner just denies everything without even stating what is being denied.

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