Justin O’Brien and Kevin Hannig have entered not-guilty pleas on charges that they assaulted an openly gay inmate at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia.
The men were arraigned last month, and remain incarcerated at the detention center pending the outcome of their trial.
They’re accused of causing serious bodily harm to Kenneth J. Houck Jr., and face an additional 10 years in federal lock-up if convicted.
U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn will preside at the trial, tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. April 1 in Courtroom 14B of the U.S. Court House, 601 Market Street.
On Nov. 10, 2011, Houck was reading a gay novel in his cell when O’Brien and Hannig allegedly stomped on him, breaking his leg.
Houck continues to recover at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C.
At the time, O’Brien and Hannig were in the detention center due to criminal violations stemming from unrelated bank robberies, according to court records.
Houck was in the detention center awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of transporting child pornography.
In February 2012, U.S. District Judge Gregory M. Sleet sentenced Houck to 97 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Houck’s projected release date is March 3, 2018, if he doesn’t commit any infractions while in custody.
W. Christopher Montoya, an attorney for Hannig, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Janis Smarro, an attorney for O’Brien, also couldn’t be reached for comment. n
— Timothy Cwiek Officer’s incarceration sought
Attorneys for a man who says a Philadelphia police officer sexually assaulted him are seeking the officer’s incarceration for allegedly violating a court order to pay about $3,000 in legal fees and costs to them.
James Harris alleges that Officer Michael Paige forced him to perform oral sex on him about six years ago in Fairmount Park.
In 2008, a judge cleared Paige of any criminal wrongdoing. But last year, a federal jury awarded Harris $165,000 due to the alleged assault.
Paige is seeking indemnification from the city, and hasn’t yet paid Harris.
But U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly has ordered Paige to pay about $3,000 in legal fees and costs to Harris’ attorneys, stemming from a discovery dispute in the federal litigation.
“We’re not harassing Officer Paige,” Brian F. Humble, Harris’ attorney, told PGN. “He’s in contempt of court and should be held accountable for his actions.”
Humble requested Paige’s incarceration in a Jan. 19 motion filed with the judge.
But on Jan. 24, Kelly said he’s postponing a decision on the matter until Paige returns from active military duty in Missouri, which is expected in April.
Brian F. Puricelli, an attorney for Paige, had no comment.
Paige was dismissed from the Philadelphia police force shortly after the alleged sexual assault.
The following year, Paige was reinstated to the force after an independent arbitrator reduced his discipline from dismissal to a 30-day suspension.
— Timothy Cwiek