Merciless Prison Guard Faces Investigation Over Waterboarding Inmates, Beating Their Genitals

Inmate Dino Caroselli received a settlement of $70,000 in 2008 after he accused Lt. Troy Mitchell and other corrections officers of breaking both of his hands, ankle, nose and tooth during a 2002 assault. This image shows his bloody face after the assault. (DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION)

A sadistic prison officer who has cost New York State $877,637 in legal payouts over assault and sex harassment allegations is now under investigation over accusations he waterboarded two inmates and brutally beat them in their genitals.

Lt. Troy Mitchell, with the help of other guards, is accused of pouring buckets of water over the mouths and noses of two shackled inmates at the Auburn Correctional Facility in separate incidents.

He is also accused of grabbing and twisting their genitals and then punching and whacking their groins with a baton.

In one incident, on Sept. 14, 2016, Mitchell beat prisoner Matthew Raymond so savagely that he now needs a catheter to urinate, according to civil court documents filed by Raymond’s lawyer, Joan Magoolaghan, in Albany Supreme Court.

“Relentless in his attack, Lt. Mitchell then directed a corrections officer to spread Mr. Raymond’s legs apart, after which the lieutenant forcefully grabbed and twisted Mr. Raymond’s testicles and penis, and called him a ‘stupid little bitch,’” the filing says.

The inspector general’s office for the state Department of Correctional Services and Community Renewal previously looked into Raymond’s accusations but determined they were unfounded.

However, the office reopened its investigation when a second prisoner made an identical claim against Mitchell, who has been a prison officer since 1986.

Magoolaghan’s civil filing — which demands DOCCS hand over video footage and incident reports related the alleged assault — also notes that a third Auburn inmate made similar complaints against Mitchell before Sept. 14, 2016.

DOCCS said in a statement to the Daily News on Friday that it suspended Mitchell, 54, without pay on Aug. 31, 2017, as part of an ongoing investigation into the matter.

But Mitchell was accused of barbaric behavior long before his suspension — and not just by prisoners.

Penny Collins, a female corrections officer at Auburn, received a $787,837 judgment against DOCCS plus $150,000 in backpay in 2012, five years after filing a lawsuit accusing Mitchell and other officers of sexually harassing her.

The worst of the worst, she said, was Mitchell.

She accused him of repeated verbal abuse and bullying, including describing his excrements to her, boasting how he once told his mother she had “nice t-ts” and noting that a wedding ring Collins wore looked like one his wife owned that “got lost in his ass.” She also said he liked to discuss the size of inmates’ penises.

“This is one of the sickest people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Collins, 56, told the Daily News last week.

She said she was so concerned about Mitchell’s history of abuse to co-workers and inmates that she wrote a Nov. 17, 2006, letter to a senior investigator at DOCCS’ inspector general’s office, warning him that incidents were going unreported. At the time, Mitchell had just been promoted to lieutenant.

“Someone must look into Lt. Mitchell and his actions as an employee,” she wrote. “With this promotion, he now has a substantial amount of authority and I fear for the people he turns his abuse on.”

Collins said an investigator interviewed her one time after she sent the letter. She said she never heard from anyone after that.

“If they would have taken it seriously 12 years ago, none of this would be an issue now,” she said.

Even before her accusations, Mitchell, and other officers at the facility, were under scrutiny.

The U.S. Department of Justice investigated Auburn Correctional Facility over allegations of excessive force in 2005.

The federal investigators ended their probe in 2007 when the five-year statute of limitations on the alleged misconduct expired.

However, the probe ran parallel to lawsuits filed by prisoners, including two that accused Mitchell of playing a role in beatdowns.

In one case, Dino Caroselli — who is serving a life sentence for a botched robbery in Brooklyn that led to a shootout with police officers — received a settlement of $70,000 in 2008. He accused Mitchell and other officers of breaking both of his hands, ankle, nose and tooth during a 2002 assault.

In the other lawsuit, Richie Thomas, who was serving a life sentence for burglary, received a $19,800 payout in 2008 after accusing officers of assaulting him while he was handcuffed to a utility room in 2002. Mitchell was named as a defendant but it is unclear what his role was in the alleged attack.

Mitchell has denied the allegations by Collins, Caroselli and Thomas. He couldn’t be reached for comment regarding the latest allegations.

DOCCS said in a statement to the News that under the current contract with the prison officers union, it is limited in its ability to discipline correction officers. However, it said it is working to bolster its power to remove bad actors through a new security contract with the union.

“This department has zero tolerance for any behavior that jeopardizes the safety and security of our facilities and the individuals who live and work there,” the agency said.

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