District Attorney Bill Higgins said Ryan Clapper was convicted in a non-jury trial. Higgins said though he was sentenced to 45 days in jail, he will be free and have 30 days to file an appeal.
Higgins released this statement:
Following a nearly three hour summary trial, Magisterial District Judge H. Cyril Bingham found former Bedford County Corrections Officer Ryan Scott Clapper, 26, of Schellsburg, PA, guilty of Harassment. He was sentenced to serve 45 days in the Bedford County Jail.
The charge stemmed from an incident that occurred on August 19, 2012, in which then Corrections Officer Clapper was escorting a female inmate from the recreation area within the jail to her cell. During the transport, Clapper placed a set of handcuffs and shackles on her that he had stored in a freezer for nearly an hour. According to the inmate, the guard told her that since she complained
about her handcuffs being cold on an earlier transport, he was going to "really make them cold" this time.
The Commonwealth, represented at trial by District Attorney Bill Higgins, presented several witnesses, including Corrections Officer Swain King, who testified that Clapper told him that he had put the handcuffs and shackles in the freezer, but King thought he was just joking until he later felt the handcuffs and observed condensation on the metal.
"Officer Clapper was charged with the care, custody and control of this inmate. He was expected to exercise that responsibility humanely. His conduct was reprehensible and egregious, and we felt very strongly that a sentence of incarceration was warranted," stated District Attorney Higgins.
Although Clapper was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail, he will remain at liberty and be afforded a period of 30 days to file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.
"Restricting the liberty of a fellow citizen is a serious matter. Regardless of the reason an inmate is incarcerated, we have an unequivocal obligation to treat our inmates with dignity, decency and respect. Clearly, Officer Clapper failed to honor that obligation. He might have thought it was all a big joke, but he was the only laughing," concluded Higgins.