News in brief from around Pennsylvania


Former state House speaker resentenced without restitution

A former speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives won’t have to pay about $110,000 in restitution for his conviction six years ago for using staff to campaign on state time.

A county judge resentenced Bill DeWeese on Wednes­day, after an appeals court threw out the repayment because the government can’t be a victim for restitution purposes. The attorney general’s office argued the restitution should be re-imposed.

The judge said DeWeese has apparently forfeited his government pension, and it’s worth far more than the estimated cost of his crimes. The judge is converting $25,000 in fines into a civil judgment.

The Democrat from southwestern Pennsylvania served nearly two years in state prison for conspiracy, conflict of interest and theft.

DeWeese filed a federal court petition this week seeking a new trial.


Homeless Samaritan suing couple

who raised funds to help him

A homeless man whose selfless act of using his last $20 to fill up the gas tank of a stranded motorist in Philadelphia got him worldwide attention is now suing the couple who led a $400,000 fundraising campaign to help him.

Johnny Bobbitt said he’s concerned that Mark D’Amico and Katie McClure have mismanaged a large part of the donations raised for him on GoFundMe. The New Jersey couple deny those claims, saying they’re wary of giving Bobbitt large sums because they fear he would buy drugs.

Bobbitt’s lawsuit contends the couple committed fraud by taking money from the fundraising campaign for themselves. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for today.


Senate GOP leader cautions against retroactive abuse claims

The top-ranking Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate is responding to a grand jury report on “predator priests” by saying he’s opposed to legislation to retroactively loosen time limits on child sexual abuse civil claims.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said Wednesday it’s unconstitutional. He said he’d support amending the constitution, but cautions that will take time.

Scarnati said the Roman Catholic church should set up a victim compensation fund.