When state police Trooper Allison Goswick listened to a recorded phone conversation between an Indiana County Jail inmate and her family member, the officer began to unravel an alleged web of sex and retaliation that led to the arrest last week of two female prison guards.
That call led Goswick to interview three inmates who claimed they had sexual liaisons at the jail in broom closets, bathrooms and cells with guard Molly Ann Gross, 43, of 103 Timberlane Drive, Ligonier.
They alleged that Gross’ lover and fellow guard, Margaret Jane Dailey, 50, of 101 Crystal Drive, Indiana, grew jealous and threatened the inmates.
Gross and Dailey, who have been suspended without pay, were arrested Nov. 23. Gross was charged with 10 counts of institutional sexual assault and three counts each of terroristic threats and official oppression. Dailey faces three counts each of terroristic threats and official oppression.
Jail Warden Carol Hummel said she is conducting an internal investigation into the “very unsettling” allegations.
“It’s our duty to protect, and these allegations of these crimes — that’s a violation of public trust, and that’s not what we’re about, and we will do what we need to do to make any corrective action if necessary in the hopes that this will never, ever happen again,” she said. “There are many people that work here that are good, dedicated employees that are proud to come to work every day, and this has been hard on them.”
Goswick was investigating an unrelated matter and obtained the phone records of several inmates, she said in a criminal complaint.
While listening to one call, she heard an inmate relate that Gross had dated a female inmate.
Goswick interviewed that inmate, who said she had seen Gross and the ex-inmate at a store during the summer of 2010. The informant added that during her incarceration, she heard that several female inmates had relationships with Gross and that Dailey knew about them.
Goswick interviewed three former inmates who allegedly had relationships with Gross.
One claimed she had trysts with Gross several times in the jail library, a closet or her cell. They flirted and passed notes, and the inmate gave Gross a cell phone number to contact the prisoner when she got out of jail. At one point, the victim found out that Gross and Dailey were involved and approached Gross about telling Dailey about their relationship. But Gross allegedly threatened the inmate, Goswick alleges.
A second inmate said she and Gross started passing notes and flirting. She met with Gross five to six times to have sex in the employee bathroom, the complaint said.
The inmate alleged that Dailey discovered her and Gross kissing in a closet, and Dailey began threatening her. Dailey forced the inmate to write a false statement claiming that another inmate threw excrement and made threats against Dailey and Gross, the complaint said.
The inmate said she was afraid if she didn’t go along, Dailey would make her life worse in jail, including putting her in restricted housing. She said Dailey once tried to smash her hand.
After she was released from jail, the inmate continued to have contact with Gross. But the relationship ended because the inmate was afraid of Dailey, and Gross told her they could never be together because she would lose her job if anyone found out, according to the complaint.
Dailey allegedly called the inmate and threatened that if she didn’t stay away from Gross, the inmate would pay.
A third inmate told police that she “made out” with Gross three times in a broom closet. She said Dailey found out about the relationship and began treating the prisoner poorly. The inmate said she was aware that Dailey had made false accusations against another inmate. She stopped having contact with Gross so Dailey wouldn’t retaliate against her, the inmate told police.
Gross and Dailey face preliminary hearings on Feb. 7 before Clymer District Judge George Thachik. Both are free after posting $25,000 bond.