Police: Prison guard in Blair County helped inmates assault another prisoner

A corrections officer in Blair County is facing felony charges after police say he helped several inmates assault another prisoner. (MGN)

HOLLIDAYSBURG -- Police allege that a sexual assault in the Blair County Prison has left six inmates and one corrections officer to face criminal charges.

According to court documents, 23-year-old corrections officer Dalton Zeiders, of Tyrone, has been charged with criminal conspiracy and assault of a prisoner along with other misdemeanor charges.

Hollidaysburg Borough police say Zeiders let six inmates out of their cells March 16 at the Blair County Prison to assault another inmate who was believed to have contraband tobacco.

The criminal complaint said the inmates assaulted an inmate with toothbrushes, and the inmate was hospitalized as a result. An emergency room nurse at UPMC Altoona reported the assault to Hollidaysburg police.

Zeiders' attorney, Thomas Dickey, said Wednesday that the story of Zeiders conspiring with the inmates is "simply not true."

Dickey said his client has no prior record, and would have no reason to work with the inmates.

Police said in the criminal affidavit that surveillance video supports the claims, but Dickey said the video only shows Zeiders having a conversation with an inmate. The video does not have audio, and Dickey said it's unclear what the two actually discussed.

Records show Zeiders was moved from a paid suspension to unpaid July 6.

Zeiders' preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12 at Magisterial Judge Paula Aigner's office.

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