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Penn Township woman waives right to hearing in party involving teens at her home

| Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 11:24 p.m.

A Penn Township woman who allegedly gave alcohol to teens at a party in February will stand trial.

Linda Swope, 50, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday on charges of corruption of minors, recklessly endangering another person and furnishing alcohol to minors.

Police charged Swope after a student gave the Penn-Trafford High School resource officer a copy of a video from the Feb. 12 party at Swope's home on Whistle Drive, according to the criminal complaint.

Several teens can be seen on the video “chugging” and “shotgunning” beer, police said. Swope appears on the video “participating in the chugging games as well as encouraging the minors to consume alcohol,” authorities said.

The video shows one female minor unconscious on a laundry room floor while Swope laughs at her, authorities said.

No plea agreement was reached between Swope and prosecutors, township police Chief John Otto said.

Swope had no comment as she left District Judge Helen Kistler's office. Her attorney, Laura Beth Gutnick, did not return a call seeking comment.

Otto said he hopes the prosecution of Swope sends a message to the community.

“I want the defendant in this case held accountable and a message sent ... that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated,” he said.

Several partygoers were identified as students at the high school, and five or six teens were identified by name through the video, Otto said.

None of the teens was injured and none has been cited, Otto said. Police will deal with the teens after Swope's case is resolved in Westmoreland County Court, the chief said.

They could be cited with underage drinking — a summary offense that normally results in a fine and possibly community service — or some other action could be taken, Otto said.

“Rest assured, they will be held responsible for their actions that evening,” Otto said.

“They're not going to get out of this scot-free. They will be held accountable for this episode of bad decision-making.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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