Former student pleads guilty to officer attack

Ryan Brown, Managing Editor

A onetime Pitt-Johnstown student will not face jail time after he pleaded guilty to assault in an Oct. 23 fight with a Campus Police officer.

Matthew Sweeney, at the time a sophomore Living/Learning Center resident, initially had faced a dozen charges including aggravated assault, resisting arrest and underage drinking.

He attacked police Associate Chief Eric Zangaglia after officers stopped him in a Living/Learning Center hallway for alcohol possession, police said.

During the stairwell fight, according to police reports, he choked Zangaglia, who at one point drew a handgun on the student to end the attack.

In the early morning hours following the attack, officers entered Sweeney’s dorm room and apprehended him. He was briefly jailed before a relative secured 10 percent of his $100,000 bond.

Sweeney pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to a single assault count; all other charges were dropped.

Sweeney was sentenced to three years’ probation, a $1,000 fine and restitution and court costs totaling some $7,000. Additionally, he must attend alcohol treatment and an anger-management program, and is forbidden to drink alcohol for his probation period.

Whether he will be permitted to attend Pitt-Johnstown again is unclear: Conflict Resolution Director Jake Harper said privacy laws forbid him from commenting on Sweeney’s future university status.