Former Blair prison guard on trial for assault

Jury to decide if Keefer made unwanted sexual advances toward nurse

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County jury is being asked to decide if a former Blair County Prison guard made unwanted sexual advances in 2015 toward a female licensed practical nurse while they were alone.

The former guard, Paul David Keefer of Duncansville, lost his job after Hollidaysburg Borough police charged him with indecent assault and false imprisonment based on the woman’s account, defense attorney Ted Krol said.

The woman told the jury that he pulled her body next to his, touched her breasts, kissed her and made her touch him.

District Attorney Richard Consiglio asked her if she had any reason to make up these allegations.

“Absolutely not,” the woman testified.

Krol told the jury the woman’s claims are false.

Before this alleged incident on Oct. 2, 2015, Krol said Keefer had been employed at the prison for

11 years with an excellent work history and no record of any sexual misconducts.

“This is contrary to his nature,” the defense attorney said.

Consiglio offered the jury a video from the prison showing the woman outside a room where Keefer was stationed to control the electronic door-locking system used to restrict inmate access. The woman told the jury that Keefer invited her to come into the room as inmates were passing.

She said there should have been two prison staff members in the room but only Keefer was there.

Keefer, she said, wouldn’t let her leave, and the assault ended after about five minutes when another prison guard, Levi Shoup, knocked on the door because he needed to get a key.

Hollidaysburg Borough Police Officer Allen Fochler, who filed the charges, said the woman came to the police station and detailed the assault. He said he took pictures of text messages that she and Keefer exchanged afterward, when she told him to leave her alone. Fochler also said he got the prison’s video from then-sheriff deputy Sam McClure, who had conducted an internal investigation of the incident.

When Consiglio asked Fochler about the guard needing the key, Fochler said that guard was in the military and stationed in Texas. But subsequently, Krol put Shoup on the witness stand, and while Shoup admitted to being in the military, he said he now works at the state prison in Houtzdale.

Shoup, who said he was a shift supervisor when working at the county prison, said he passed by the woman as she exited the room where she had been with Keefer. Shoup said he saw nothing unusual about her demeanor.

“Normal, everyday manner,” Shoup said.

Consiglio also offered testimony from Eric Strom, a prison guard who said he talked with the woman about 90 minutes after the alleged assault.

“She was hysterical, crying … said (Keefer) was trying to kiss her, got behind her … was touching her breasts, thrusting himself into her,” Strom testified.

Consiglio advised the jury that the video only shows the woman entering and exiting the room where there is no camera.

“There’s no smoking gun here to tell you what happened,” Consiglio told the jury in his opening statement. “You’re to determine who you believe.”

The case is expected to wrap up today.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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