- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - A northeastern Pennsylvania prison guard charged with sexually assaulting five female inmates has been fired.

Lackawanna County prison officials said 49-year-old Joe Black of Dickson City was let go Friday after a hearing.

Earlier this month, he was charged with assaulting the women at the county prison between 2002 and 2011.

A grand jury found that Black frequently volunteered to oversee female inmates - a job typically done by female guards. The investigation began when a former Lackawanna inmate told investigators she had been sexually assaulted by Black, but only made the report after she had been moved to a federal prison.

His attorney says Black is innocent.

The investigation began more than two years ago. Black had been suspended with pay until his firing.

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