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FOSTER HOME AGENCY HEAD PLACED UNDER HOUSE ARREST FOR TWO YEARS

 FOSTER HOME AGENCY HEAD PLACED UNDER HOUSE ARREST FOR TWO YEARS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A former Luzerne County man who earlier admitted that he placed children from Philadelphia in dangerous and squalid conditions in northeastern Pennsylvania foster homes today was placed under house arrest for two years and ordered to pay more than $71,000 in fines and restitution.
 Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. said Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Bernard C. Brominski also ordered Robert T. Sweeney, 50, to serve seven years' probation following his confinement at home.
 During the next two years, the judge said, Sweeney will be permitted to leave his home in Florida only for work, religious services or to attend to medical needs.
 Sweeney's confinement will be supervised by the Florida Department of Corrections.
 A former staff psychologist at Clarks Summit State Hospital in Lackawanna County, Sweeney pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to endangering the welfare of children, theft by deception, criminal conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking and two counts of forgery.
 He also pleaded no contest to a separate count of theft by deception.
 Sweeney's wife, Tina Brush Sweeney, 35, was placed on two years' probation and ordered to pay $9,000 in fines and restitution after she pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to endangering the welfare of children and theft by unlawful taking.
 The Sweeneys operated Alternatives for Children Inc., a non-profit child foster care agency, from their former home in Mountain Top until the state shut it down in September 1989. The Sweeneys now live in Gainesville, Fla.
 In complaints filed in November 1990, Preate's office charged that the Sweeneys endangered the welfare of dozens of children from Philadelphia whom they placed in foster homes in northeastern Pennsylvania.
 "Our investigation determined, for example, that in one case the defendants placed 11 infants and small children in a dilapidated building where the children were found living with adults in filthy and unsafe conditions," Preate said. "The children were poorly clothed, poorly groomed, poorly fed and suffered from poor hygiene."
 Judge Brominski ordered Robert Sweeney to pay a $10,000 fine; $26,821 in restitution for money received under his agency's contract with Philadelphia, and $35,246 in restitution for overpayments he received in his position at Clarks Summit State Hospital.
 Preate said the charges stemmed from an investigation conducted by his office with the assistance of a statewide investigating grand jury.
 Deputy Attorney General Ronald W. Costen served as prosecutor.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/21/92
 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis of the Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or at home, 717-657-9840/ CO: Office of Attorney General ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


JS -- PH022 -- 1893 01/21/92 13:22 EST
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Date:Jan 21, 1992
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