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Former president of Bethel Park Junior Cheerleaders sentenced to jail

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Thursday, March 20, 2014, 11:36 a.m.
 

The former president of the Bethel Park Junior Cheerleaders who stole nearly $20,000 to go shopping will serve as long as 30 days in jail and a year on house arrest, an Allegheny County judge ordered on Thursday.

Mary Lynn Schneir, 42, of Bethel Park pleaded guilty to one count of theft. She arrived in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani armed with a check, a letter from a doctor diagnosing her with depression and apologies for the victims.

“I am very sorry, and I am suffering,” Schneir told Mariani. “I am broken, and I'm getting help. … I've disappointed a lot of people.”

Police said Schneir made several unauthorized ATM and cash withdrawals — totaling more than $19,300 — from the organization's bank account in 2011 and 2012.

She used about $430 to buy diet pills, a luggage set and items for her daughter's dance recital, according to a criminal complaint. Bethel Park police arrested her on Aug. 2, and she spent nine hours in jail before posting $5,000 bond.

Three women with ties to the cheerleading association gave impact statements, explaining to Mariani how the crime affected them.

“I spent 22 years of my life to make this a good organization. In two years, Mrs. Schneir tried to destroy it,” said Judith Volpatti of Bethel Park. “I feel like she needs more than a slap on the wrist.”

Schneir's attorney, Phil DiLucente, asked Mariani to sentence his client to probation, calling her the “poster child for what you do when you screw up,” since she took money from her retirement account to pay restitution.

Mariani, however, said it was Schneir's repeated offenses that figured in his sentence, which includes three years on probation.

“Time after time, she had to look them in the face and lie to them,” he said.

Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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