2013-11-21 / Front Page

Swope Not Guilty Of Sexual Assault

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

A Warfordsburg woman has been acquitted of criminal allegations she sexually assaulted a 14- year-old boy on multiple occasions several years ago at a Buck Valley area home.

Last Thursday, following a 40- minute deliberation, a jury found Tiffany Nicole Swope of 338 Bard’s Dairy Lane not guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and the corruption of minors.

According to defense attorney Kristin Nicklas, the case involving Swope “boiled down to credibility.” Nicklas referenced discrepancies in testimony given by the victim comparing that given at a preliminary hearing to that given during the November 14 jury trial. Among the discrepancies were if the victim, and Swope actually had sex, when the sex occurred and, if so, how many times.

As part of her testimony, Swope said she stayed with the victim, the victim’s father, whom she was dating, as well as the victim’s extended family in Buck Valley several nights a week between 2009 and 2011. She said she was never alone with the victim and referred to the family living situation as “dysfunctional.” Allegations of drug use, heavy drinking and family violence were made by Swope, who added she was like a stepmother of sorts to the victim, cooking, dispensing medications as needed and looking out for the kids when situations were tense.

She testified the boy asked to give her foot rubs, flirted with her and may have peeped at her while she was in the bathroom.

Swope adamantly denied to anything occurring of a sexual nature. She also added she had a DNA test performed to dispel any rumors as to who her youngest child’s father was.

The victim’s previous foster mother testified she learned about the alleged sexual activity between the victim and Swope from the other boys staying in her home. She said she approached the victim about the “inappropriateness” of his conversations with the other male juveniles in the home, which eventually led to his confiding in her. The woman said the victim was “nervous and very afraid” about the possibility he was a teen father to Swope’s son.

The matter was turned over to a caseworker with the Children’s Aid Society, and Pennsylvania State Police were involved within a week. Investigating officer was Trooper Timothy Lear of the Mc- Connellsburg barracks.

The victim confirmed in court last Thursday he was worried about being a “young dad.” He said he felt he could always tell his foster mother anything and went to stay with her family in Chambersburg after he had missed many days of school. He said he did his chores there, went to school and improved his grades.

He testified he told the truth as best as he could remember when talking to his foster mother and the state police. He claimed the incidents in his bedroom with Swope were his first sexual encounter.

Nicklas concluded the allegations stemmed from the victim being starved for attention, coming from a dysfunctional family and wanting to get out of foster care.

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