EL CENTRO – John Swaim, an ex-California Highway Patrol officer, found guilty on four counts of child molestation was sentenced to serve ten years in prison.
In November 2011, John Swaim was charged with four counts of sexually victimizing minors and pled not guilty to the charges and remained free on bail. He was accused of two counts each of a lewd act upon a child and oral copulation of a person under 14. Swaim is related to both victims in the case.
After numerous pre-trial hearings and continuances, the trial was finally underway in January of 2012 and lasted less than a month. The youngest victim in the case recanted her earlier claims that she was molested. However, the jurors listened to a videotaped interview in which she described the acts of molestation in detail. The prosecution called some 10 witnesses to the stand including the two victims who are now 17 and 20 years old. An adult niece and cousin also testified to being molested by Swaim when they were toddlers and he was a teenager. Proceedings revealed that at least 5 young girls may have been molested by Swaim.
Defense maintained that a family dispute led the eldest victim to her accusations and to then coerce the younger victim to make her own accusations. However, after deliberating for nearly a week, the jury found Swaim guilty of all charges and a date was set for sentencing. Defense attorney Bob Espinosa filed a motion for a retrial citing “significant errors” and previous allegations prejudiced the jury. Swaim has faced child molestation charges and was acquitted in 1995. The motion for retrial was denied.
On June 13, an Imperial County Superior Court judge sentenced Swaim to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence and credited him for 146 days served. Espinosa stated that he will appeal the sentence.
Imperial Valley Press: Swaim gets 10-year sentence for child molestation