Ex-prison guard denies assaulting inmates

Updated:

PITTSBURGH (AP) (AP)ong> - A fired guard at the state prison in Pittsburgh has denied ever physically or sexually assaulting inmates when he oversaw an intake housing unit there.

Sixty-one-year-old Harry Nicoletti said the allegation that he abused inmates is ridiculous, humiliating and absurd. He categorically denied wrongdoing.

Nicoletti testified in his own defense Wednesday at his trial on 80 counts involving the alleged abuse of 20 inmates. The prisoners claim they were beaten, molested and, in at least one instance, raped before Nicoletti was suspended in 2011.

Nicoletti is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and institutional assault, among other crimes.

He's expected to be the last witness in his trial before an Allegheny County jury hears closing arguments, likely on Thursday.