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Man accused of molesting two children at day care center

by on July 20, 2013 10:10 AM

A man is being accused of molesting two children at a day care center run by his sister, who herself faces charges for allowing him to hang around the place despite knowing of his alleged actions.

According to state police in Indiana, Crystal L. Pfeiffer had been told that her brother and next-door neighbor, Todd R. Swaynie, might have twice touched a 7-year-old girl inappropriately, once last summer and again this year. In addition, Pfeiffer had received a complaint that Swaynie tried to pull another girl’s pants down in an incident that occurred about 10 years ago.

Yet, police said, she let Swaynie be around her home-based day care, called Crystal L. Pfeiffer Family Day Care, at 3161 Dixonville Road in Grant Township, thereby risking the welfare of all of the children who were enrolled. As a result, she is facing eight counts of child endangerment, according to court papers. Meanwhile, Swaynie, 44, is facing two counts each of aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors, and indecent assault and a single count of attempted indecent assault.

Police opened their investigation last month when the parents of the 7-year-old reported the alleged molestation. Upon questioning, Swaynie admitted to touching the girl, police said.

As part of the investigation, troopers began contacting parents and children who attended the day care, going back to its opening in 2002, informing them of the investigation and asking if they would be willing to be interviewed.

In the course of making those contacts, troopers said they spoke with an 18-year old girl who recalled that when she was about 7 or 8, Swaynie had attempted to pull her pants down as she sat on a couch one day.

When the girl went home, she told her mother, who called Pfeiffer about the incident.

Pfeiffer told police she remembers speaking to the mother, and she said that it would have been the girl’s parents’ responsibility to do something about the incident, not hers. Police said Pfeiffer also told them that Swaynie is “special” and needs to be constantly supervised. She said she recalled telling the mother that she would keep her brother away from the day care, according to police.

But she didn’t, according to others who gave statements to police, court papers show.

Among them was a 14-year-old boy who told police that Pfeiffer allowed them to ride all-terrain vehicles while in her care and that Swaynie would go with them. Police said the boy told them Swaynie was “annoying” and “nagging.”

And a 13-year-old boy told police that Swaynie “was just always there,” often with children in the playground area. He complained that Swaynie bullied him and was “rude” to him.

In addition, a 5-year-old girl asked a trooper if they were going to talk about how Swaynie checks her pants to see if she had “pee in her pants.”

Pfeiffer is free on bond and is to appear before District Judge George Thachik on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. Swaynie is in Indiana County Jail, unable to post bail. He is being held in lieu of $40,000 in cash bonds. His preliminary hearing also is on Tuesday before Thachik.

And as for the day-care center, it was closed on June 28 as a result of the investigation, police said. The state Department of Public Welfare, which licenses day cares, is investigating the matter and may seek additional sanctions against Pfeiffer.

She was licensed to care for up to six children at any given time, excluding relatives. Her registration certificate from the welfare department indicates that as of Dec. 3, 2012, she had been in full compliance with regulations.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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