Former Worthington police chief going to trial |

Former Worthington police chief going to trial

Louis B. Ruediger
William DeForte is shown last year outside court in Kittanning while awaiting a preliminary hearing. All of the charges against Forte were recently dismissed.

Former Worthington police Chief William DeForte Jr. will stand trial for theft following a decision Tuesday by Armstrong President Judge Kenneth Valasek to deny his petition to dismiss all charges.

DeForte, 43, of Clinton, is accused of stealing from the police department when he worked there from 2009 to 2012. DeForte allegedly removed cash from a police department evidence locker and is accused of selling a rifle part that belonged to the borough. He is charged with felony theft.

Other charges involving missing police radios and chargers were dismissed by the judge.

“It is sheer speculation to conclude that the defendant took them,” said Valasek in his written ruling.

On the felony charges, Valasek ruled there was enough evidence presented to send the case to trial. His ruling cited the following:

• There was evidence showing DeForte transferred possession of a firearm to another officer “knowing at the time that he had no authority to do so, thereby supporting a possible conclusion that he unlawfully took and exercised unlawful control over the firearm with the intent of depriving the borough of property.”

• That DeForte claimed to own the gun and transferred ownership to the officer to avoid returning $1,500 paid by the officer for a different gun that did not work.

• That DeForte was the only person with a key to the evidence locker and that his was the only signature on the evidence log from which $540 in cash was missing.

A trial date has not been set.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.