No jail for former prison worker who had sex with inmates


A Hanover-area woman who worked at the state prison in Camp Hill has avoided jail for having sex with two inmates on separate occasions.

Instead, April Lee Kenawell must undergo 10 years of probation, according to her attorney — one year for each count of institutional sexual assault to which she admitted guilt.

"She lost a lot," defense attorney Kathryn Nonas-Hunter said, including her job and her reputation in the community.

Kenawell, 46, of Penn Township, appeared for sentencing Tuesday in Cumberland County Court, where on April 30 she pleaded guilty to 10 counts of the third-degree felony, according to court records.

She was ordered to pay court costs and $1,000 in fines and must register with the state as a Megan's Law sexual offender for 15 years, Nonas-Hunter said.

Kenawell — who was evaluated by the state and determined not to be a sexually violent predator — must now obtain a therapeutic sexual-offender evaluation and comply with recommended treatment, the attorney confirmed.

"She's a good person who had a really bad lapse of judgment," Nonas-Hunter said. "She's now trying to answer for what she did and pay her debt to society."

Caught on tape: State police in Carlisle said Kenawell worked in the food-services division at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill in Cumberland County.

She had sex on separate occasions with two inmates between September and October, according to Cumberland County senior assistant district attorney Daniel Sodus. Police said the sexual encounters were an ongoing course of conduct.

Kenawell and a male inmate were caught on security video having sex twice, according to court documents, and she admitted to investigators that she had sex "a couple of times" in the basement of the kitchen.

"It's important for us to obtain a conviction .... when someone on the commonwealth payroll is committing crimes on commonwealth property," Sodus said.

Kenawell was suspended without pay and benefits after the allegations came to light, according to Susan McNaughton, press secretary for the state Department of Corrections.

As of May 6, Kenawell was no longer employed by the state, McNaughton said.

Supervised inmates: Kenawell was hired in June 2012 as a food-service instructor at the 2500 Lisburn Road prison and was responsible for supervising inmates who prepare and serve meals to other inmates, the press secretary said.

McNaughton has said the Department of Corrections has a zero-tolerance policy for institutional sexual assault.

The department has offered a confidential hot line for years that allows employees, inmates and citizens report cases of sexual abuse, she said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at