Dad charged in TV photographer attack

September 3, 2009 3:38:12 PM PDT
The father of the woman involved in an infamous abduction hoax was charged Thursday afternoon after he was caught on tape assaulting TV news photographers. RELATED: Watch video of the attack

William Siner, 66, surrendered at the District Justice office on Almshouse Road in Warrington, Pa.

He is charged with three counts of simple assault and two counts of disorderly conduct. Action News has learned Siner has no previous criminal record, and will likely face a maximum sentence of probation.

Siner has a preliminary hearing scheduled for September 11th.

District Attorney Michelle Henry called the attack unprovoked.

"The video clearly shows that the cameramen were far back, that the defendant actually walked out and made a deliberate attempt to attack these cameramen," Henry said.

The question remains, why attack photographers? Siner's attorney, Robert Mancini, referenced Siner's wife, saying she said "the press crews have been outside their house in Delaware every day for months on end, knocking on their door, pestering them."

When asked if that gave Siner an excuse to go after the photographers, Mancini said "I didn't say that. That comes from her."

The incident happened shortly after Bonnie Sweeten pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanors back on August 27th.

Siner rushed toward a group of photographers and reporters, shoving one photographer and attacking another. Another photographer came to his aid, and held him until officials arrived.

Siner was then lead away by sheriff's deputies.

Earlier in the day Sweeten, accused of faking her own abduction after she disappeared with her 9-year-old daughter in May, pleaded guilty to identity theft and making false reports to police in Bucks County Court.

She was sentenced to nine to 24 months in prison.

At sentencing, Bucks County Judge Jeffrey Finley called Sweeten a manipulative, cold-hearted woman who made her daughter a pawn as she attempted to flee a criminal probe.

In court Sweeten apologized to her daughter, her family, friends and to the law enforcement for sending them on a wild goose chase.

Authorities say the mother of three called 911 on May 26th and said she and her daughter had been abducted by two black men at the intersection of Street Road and Central Avenue in Upper Southampton Township, Bucks County.

Prosecutors say she instead used a former co-worker's driver's license to fly to Florida and check into a hotel at Walt Disney World.

Through tears Sweeten said she was sorry to the black community for perpetuating what she called an ugly myth and stereotype.

She went on to say "I let my life slip out of control and did not have the proper mechanism or coping tools. With the last several months of counseling and self reflection I can guarantee my life will never again get out of control."

Sweeten is also the focus of a federal theft investigation. Authorities are looking into reports that she may have stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from her own family and the law firm where she worked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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