The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 31, 2013

Ex-prison guard sentenced for contraband scheme

SOMERSET — A former state prison guard was sentenced to jail time on Tuesday for sneaking contraband into State Correctional Institution-Somerset.

Donald M. Lynch, 35, of Fort Loudon, Franklin County, was sentenced in Somerset County court to serve two to 23 months in the county jail.

President Judge John M. Cascio sentenced Lynch, who had pleaded guilty to criminal use of a communication facility and supplying contraband.

State Corrections Department agents said Lynch encouraged prisoners to contact friends and family and asked them to buy drugs, pornographic materials and other banded items and then get in touch with him.

Lynch then would arrange delivery of the items and passed them to prisoners in August, September and October 2012.

Authorities said they were alerted to the scheme after Lynch’s wife accidentally intercepted one of the deliveries.

Court documents say Lynch told her he was “working for the security department.” He reportedly told his wife the package – which contained small bottles of oil, a prepaid card, tennis balls and plastic golf balls – was part of an investigation.

Authorities said the items were part of a prison smuggling operation.

Lynch also was sentenced to serve two years on supervised probation and perform 100 hours of community service and was fined $500.

Woman must register under Megan’s law

In another Somerset County case, a former summer camp staff member was sentenced to a term of probation and ordered to register according to Megan’s law for having unlawful contact with a 13-year-old girl.

Cascio sentenced Sara Elizabeth Mittner, 21, of Carlisle, Cumberland County, to serve two years supervised probation and fined her $1,000. She also must register under Megan’s law for 15 years.

State police in Somerset said Mittner met the girl while working at Camp Allegheny in Stoystown in August 2012.

The unlawful contact took place at the girl’s residence in Stonycreek Township.

Mittner pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on

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