By ANNMARIE TIMMINS
October 04. 2005 8:00AM
Concord Monitor, NH
Prison officials said yesterday that they did not order or conduct the strip search of a staff social worker who is suing the prison for allegedly violating his civil rights. A prison spokesman said the search was done by the state police as part of a criminal investigation.
Harold McAllister of Concord was strip-searched in his office on Sept. 15 by a state trooper while a prison official stood outside the door because someone at the prison suspected him of smuggling contraband into the prison. He is now suing the prison but not the state police.
McAllister and his attorneys, Chuck Douglas and Benjamin King, have also questioned whether the prison violated its own search policy by allowing a non-medical staff member to search McAllister and by not requiring two witnesses to be in the room. A state trooper did the search alone.
According to his lawsuit, McAllister was escorted to his office for the search by prison staff and was greeted inside his office by the prison's Maj. Ross Cunningham. McAllister said in his lawsuit that Cunningham knew McAllister was about to be strip-searched.
McAllister said he removed his clothes as ordered by state police Trooper Steven Puckett only because Puckett told McAllister he would cooperate if he valued his job. Puckett also allegedly told McAllister he'd chase McAllister if he ran.