Former police sergeant pleads not guilty to felony sex charges - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Former police sergeant pleads not guilty to felony sex charges

John Swing (Provided by Miami Township police) John Swing (Provided by Miami Township police)
John Swing in court with his attorney Joshua Engel (Source: Jennifer Baker, FOX19 NOW) John Swing in court with his attorney Joshua Engel (Source: Jennifer Baker, FOX19 NOW)
Swing left court with no comment Friday (Source: Jennifer Baker, FOX19 NOW) Swing left court with no comment Friday (Source: Jennifer Baker, FOX19 NOW)

A former Miami Township police sergeant pleaded not guilty to felony sex charges Friday.

John Swing, 50, was recently indicted on three counts of gross sexual imposition and one misdemeanor assault charge. His bond was set at $50,000 bond during a brief court appearance. He left immediately after without speaking to reporters.

Swing was fired on Sept. 1 after he allegedly groped a 20-year-old woman in the township's Explorer program.  He plans to appeal his termination through his police union, said his lawyer, Joshua Engel.

Engel says the charges have "devastated" Swing's family.

Swing faces more than four years in prison if convicted on all counts.  He will return to court Oct. 6 for a pretrial hearing. 

His lawyer released several videos of the law enforcement veteran and his alleged victim on Thursday, the same day the police department released their investigative report on the case.

Engel says at no time during the video did the victim seem distressed.

"He believes these are unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations," Engel said.

But the investigation report states the 18-year veteran law enforcement official "demonstrates abuse of authority," and "sexual harassment." 

The 23-page report points to some of the sexually suggestive texts he sent using a taxpayer-funded cell phone to different women. 

The victim told the township's investigator she felt pressured to go Swing's home when he invited her during the April 16 ride-along. 

The two went into Swing's basement when no one else was home, wrestled to the ground and, at one point, the report alleges Swing touched the victim’s buttocks, spanked her and commented, "Oh, you've got a nice (expletive)."

He did similar things to a police department intern, but she told investigators she put up with it because she wanted his reference for a job, according to the report.

The report also describes the victim as a "police groupie," saying she joked with a friend about being attracted to or kissing various officers.

The victim had been on multiple ride alongs with several police departments, the report states.

Police Chief Sue Madsen has said the township took the allegations seriously and is cooperating fully with the Clermont County Prosecutor's Office.

Swing was put on paid administrative leave back in in April, when the allegations first surfaced.

She filed a complaint with township police a week later accusing him of inappropriate actions.

On Thursday, township officials released their complete investigative report on the case in response to a public records request from  FOX19 NOW.

The probe concluded that Swing lied to the township investigator, engaged in gross misconduct with the victim and overall violated the public trust and authority his position requires. 

The investigator specifically noted that Swing showed poor judgment by taking the victim into his basement alone when no one else was home.

Authorities seized Swing's cell phone and obtained text messages he exchanged with the victim and a second woman, a former police intern.

Authorities also found Swing, who is married, used his cell phone to have "inappropriate sexual conversations with other women." 

"Many of these took place while he was on duty, constituting additional misuse of township time and resources," the report reads. "He sent sexual text messages to (the former intern) and others. He touched (the former intern) in an inappropriate manner and suggested that job benefits, including a job reference, were contingent upon sexual conduct or sexual commentary."

What's more, Swing refused to meet with a criminal investigator, refused to allow the township investigator to test his carpet fibers at his house and resisted providing his cell phone records to the criminal investigator. 

"The investigation also revealed sufficient evidence to indicate other infractions not based on the original complaint," the township's investigator wrote.

Swing's lawyer notes the investigation describes the Explorer as immature and suggests that her description of what occurred raises questions.  

The report, he said, confirms videos taken of Swing and her during the ride along at a hotel and the police department are inconsistent with her story because they do not show someone who is distressed about what should be an emotionally troubling incident.

"As for Sgt. Swing, he certainly showed some poor judgment and bad taste in his text messages to other women," Engel said. "He accepted responsibility for this and he regrets this.  But that is a matter for the Swing family, not the criminal courts."

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