The Swan's were both employed, and at least Bill Swan has an engineering degree. I recall
The Swan's were both employed, and at least Bill Swan has an
engineering degree. I recall that Kathy had a degree too. Their
daughter was in daycare. They all lived somewhere in Washington
state. The daycare center hired a new employee and during this
employee's first day on the job, she went to one of the directors of
the daycare center and told this woman that the Swan's three-year-old
daughter had told her that her parents were sexually molesting her.
What this child told this woman is unknown. The court trial contains
numerous and incredible allegations. The daycare center director,
being a mandatory reporter, called Children's Services. Children's
Services went to the daycare center and interviewed the little girl.
The girl confirmed nothing and made no statements that indicated child
abuse. Several days later, the new employee again alleged the child
had repeated the statements of abuse by her parents. Children's
Services was again called in. Again, nothing.
Finally, again several days later, the daycare worker alleged the girl
was still making these statements, the daycare worker director talked
with the girl, and this time the daycare director states the little
girl and another little girl who had stayed overnight at the Swan's
house made such statements. Children's Services was, once again,
called out. This time, because there were two adults stating what the
little girls were saying, Children's Services indicated abuse and
called in the police. Children's Services never got statements from
the girls about any abuse.
The two little girls were removed from they daycare center and when the
Swan's went to pick up their daughter, the police met them.
Their daughter was taken to a local hospital or clinic, where she was
examined by a male nurse, not a doctor. Children's Services, using
their interviewing techniques, got some bizarre statements which, by
themselves confirm nothing, but which in court they asserted indicated
Some of the allegations asserted by Children's Services based on
extrapolating the worst possible outcome from what the daughter
actually said were: The Swans would stick things up inside their
daughter, big candles and crayons and other things. That they would
both perform oral sex on this little girl and that they would have
intercourse with her. Children's Services further alleged that the
Swans had done these same things to another little girl who had stayed
The Swans were convicted based on the testimony of the Children's
Services workers, the daycare worker, the daycare director and the male
Now, what didn't happen in this case? The child was never examined by
a competent mental health professional. No transcripts or recorded
statements were ever made of the child making any of these
allegations. All statements introduced as statements made by the child
were hearsay. Neither child was examined by a competent doctor.
Children's Services and the attorneys for the state asserted there were
no qualified doctors in the area (this was in a city). _60 Minutes_
confronted them with this little bit of misinformation and they reacted
belligerently. In effect, _60 Minutes_ accused them of lying about no
qualified doctors and using a nurse who was not qualified as their star
witness of physical abuse. There were no pictures, no semen or tissue
samples, no blood samples, no colpascopic pictures. There was not even
a "voodoo" anatomical doll interview with either child, nor a "voodoo"
interpretations of drawings made by the children. By any state's
current standards, the investigation in this case reeked.
The state witnesses: the daycare director was interviewed on camera and
during the interview she was confronted with with inaccuracies and
inconsistencies in the state's case. She lost her temper, ripped off
her microphone and stopped the interview. She yelled at them, stating
that the Swans were sick people who had sex with their daughter and
ordered them out of her house (basically, how dare they doubt her word
and the word of the other daycare worker - and, of course, Children's
The daycare worker who made the initial allegations made statements to
_60 Minutes_ that she had been raped by 200 men, which is highly
unlikely. She also stated that she was 19 before she knew that not all
parents had sex with their children. She also had just been
released from either a drug or alcohol abuse program just before she got
the job at the daycare center. She was a very impeachable witness. Her
credibility was nil.
The people at Children's Services made incongruous statements to _60
Minutes_. One of the acting directors for the local agency was reputed
to be hell-bent on convictions no matter what. They were belligerent
with _60 Minutes_ in their interviews - every one of the Children's
Services people they interviewed.
The male nurse had no comment.
>constitutes normal genitals has only come out in the past 3 or 4 years and
>that a number of cases where child abuse allegations were made by doctors
>have been discredited as a result of this work. It's likely that the
>nurse was acting on his training and experience and that the later research
>could provide grounds for a new trial.
There are many reasons for a new trial in this case. That is just one.
The most pertinent one is that a doctor who had recently examined the
child before _60 Minutes_ went to the airwaves had asserted the child's
hymen was intact - which would be practically impossible if the allegations
were true. Also, the other 3-year-old daughter, who had stayed
overnight with the Swans was examined independently by a doctor her
parents had consulted and the same was true for her. The MOTHER of this
other girl stated to _60 Minutes_ that she is certain the Swans are
>>Also, the daycare worker who reported this abuse (on her first day on
>>the job), had also just been released from a drug abuse clinic before
>>she made the allegations (about a month earlier). This person made
>>statements to a reporter from 60 Minutes that she was 19 before she knew
>>that not all parents have sex with their children and also stated that
>>she had been raped by over 200 different men.
>What relevance is the daycare worker's appearance?
>I think it is unlikely that someone has been raped by over 200 different
>men, but I don't think it is unlikely that she was the victim of incest
>and her appearance is irrelevant to either.
No, it is not irrelevent. Suppose I accuse you of stealing $5 from me
and I have a witness, who is a debased, insane, alcoholic drug abuser
also asserting that you had stolen the $5 from me. My witness is not
credible. It is possible that my witness feels he or she has something
to gain from lying about this case. A good attorney representing you
would attack the credibility of my witness.
The woman was not qualified to work in the daycare center, and if they
had done a background check, she would not have been hired - she had a
history of reporting sexual abuse and of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
If the woman was a notorious liar, a terrible liar, a woman who went
around making false allegations of rape and sexual abuse every other
day, then she was impeachable and the jury should have disregarded her
The hearsay testimony that was used to convict these two people should
have been disregarded. There were ample opportunities for the state,
Children's Services, the daycare workers, the doctors, etc. to record
these statements. They had all the time in the world, they had access
to all kinds of facilities to conduct proper forensic testing and proper
interviews witnessed and recorded. None of these standards of protocol
were followed. In a normal case, where a conviction must be the result
of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt presented by the state, there
would not have been a conviction. The jury used a lower standard of
conviction - basically, they believed it was possible that these things
happened, therefore convict.
>>As far as I know, the Swans are still in prison - costing the taxpaying
>>community $25k per year each.
>It isn't apparent to me what significance the cost of keeping them in prison
>has. If they were guilty, it would seem a small enough price to pay.
This is what it matters: if they are innocent, then they are an
unnecessary burden upon the taxpaying community. Also, if they had
pled to some lesser charge, they would have already been released or
would not have served any time at all. But instead, because they have
refused to plead guilty, asserting their absolute, complete and total
innocence from day one, they have remained in prison, at taxpayor
expense for years.
Miriam, you may find this hard to believe, but sexual abusers are sick.
Do they get any help for their illness in a prison? Do they get
rehabilitated? If no, then is that an appropriate reaction to take
against such a person? Let's say they are guilty, OK. Now, put them
behind bars and force us all to pay for their livelihood and the
livelihood of their daughter for, let's say, seven years. Now, at the
end of that seven-year period, they are released. They have served
their debt to society and have done to penance. Now, are they all
better and are we sure they will not do this again? No. Not by a long
shot. Yet, they are free.
Is there an alternative plan for handling such cases that would produce
better results? Let's say we don't imprison them but order them to get
intense therapy, confine them electronically to certain locals (work
and home), not let them near children unsupervised, give them copious
supervised visitation with their daughter. The parents, as part of the
therapy, might confess some degree of guilt, and the root causes of
those actions can be addressed. If they progress well and if a team of
psychologists evaluating them determines they no longer represent a
threat to children or their daughter (like when she is old enough to
assert her rights and old enough to alert others if they ever attempt
such acts again), and if the daughter wanted to re-establish normal
relations with her parents, the restrictions would be lifted and the
daughter could live with them again. Professionals would stay in
contact with this family and track the progress. The child would be
interviewed by the professionals away from her parents.
Costs of initial therapy and follow-ups and foster care for the daughter
might run something like
$400 per month therapy
$400 per month electronic monitoring
$600 per month foster care
$200 per month supervisors for visitation
$1600 per month initial costs
Both parents would work - in this case, their combined income potential
is >$70k per year. They would have to pay all these bills - not the
state, not you, not me. These would be initial costs. If
psychologists assert they are worthy of being parents again for their
daughter, therapy would be reduced and expenses might drop to $200 per
month. Again, these folks would pay this. In time, the therapy could
possible stop altogether and the state would leave them alone.
Now, things might not work out so well and these folks might not ever
be trustworthy with children alone. They would continue to be tracked
and monitored and would continue to pay expenses for rehabilitation and
child support to foster parents. They would still get visitation--as
long as they wanted it and as much as they could afford. They would
still work and pay taxes.
Now, let's suppose they are innocent--as they have asserted. Then we
all have to pay $50k per year for the costs of their incarceration.
Also, we have to pay for foster parenting ($25k per year with $19k
going to the state to support Human Services departments) until the
state terminates their parental rights and allows someone else to adopt
the daughter. At that time, the daughter ceases to be a financial
burden on society at large. However, the parents remain a financial
burden until they are released. Because they will not admit any guilt,
the state has penalized them versus those who admit guilt or just
plea-bargain to get a lighter sentence - to get out earlier. The state
can also terminate their parental rights based on the conviction -
although normally the standard for terminating parental rights must be
"clear and convincing" evidence as affirmed by the Supreme Court.
If they are innocent, then they have been destroyed as a family. The
daughter, who, if they are innocent, was not a victim of sexual abuse,
but rather, a victim of the state's zeal to convict innocent people "in
the best interests of children." In effect, the state has destroyed a
daughter's chances at a normal life with her parents based on the
hearsay evidence of a mentally unstable daycare worker and a male nurse
who knows less about physiology than I do. If they are innocent, then
the daycare workers, Children's Services, the male nurse and the state
prosecutors have conspired to wrongfully convict innocent people,
putting a little girl through an emotional hell that puts her in the
high risk categories for academic failure, severe mental depression,
suicide, delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse. Also, if the parents are
innocent, then they have had their lives destroyed by the state at our
expense, their daughter's expense and, obviously, at great expense to
Thomas Jefferson, in creating standards for legal doctrine in the
United States asserted that it is better to let [some number] of
guilty people go free than to convict one innocent person. Those were
the initial standards for the system of jurisprudence in this country.
Those standards have been bastardized in the "interests of children."
But, is it in the best interests of this little girl to put her and
her parents through the hell they've been through -- if they are
Again, Miriam asserted....
>It isn't apparent to me what significance the cost of keeping them in prison
>has. If they were guilty, it would seem a small enough price to pay.
Didn't think too long and hard on this one, did you?
Jennifer Isham, the national president of Mothers WithOut Custody told
me about a woman truck driver who lives in Pennsylvania. This woman lives
with her children, who are all in their teens, and her grandfather, who
is senile and in his 80s. The grandfather sexually molested his own
children years and years ago and was even convicted of molesting
others. All these children know they are not to be alone with
great-grandpa, they all know what he has done. None of these children
has been abused by this old man, although he has made some feeble
attempts. This woman cares for her grandfather and supports him in the
last years of his life. The children enjoy his company and have
learned a lot of unique things from the old man.
I assume, Miriam, that you believe this man should have been
incarcerated until death at everyone's expense.
What if the Swans were guilty (which has not been proven by any means)?
Where do they go and what do they do when they have served their time?
What if they are innocent? How can anyone justify what has happened to
them and their daughter?
Oh, as they were preparing a strong appeal case last winter, Washington
state was finalizing the termination of their parental rights so the
child could be adopted by foster parents.
I haven't heard anything about this case since then, although I'm sure I
could find something if I went to the library.
Has anyone else out there got any news on this case?
Aaron L. Hoffmeyer
Is conclusion (2) really true? If the daycare worker was
indeed a victim of incest, it could most certainly be relevant in
explaining why she made claims that the Swans' daughter was being
abused by her parents. Having been a victim of abuse herself, she may
have supressed the outrage and humility she felt as a result. Without
a mechanism for relief, her anger continued to fester as she continued
to repress, resutling in pent-up hostility.
Upon obtaining her postion at the daycare, something triggered
her repressed feelings into surfacing. Perhaps this was caused by
being around children, some of whom were the same age she had been
when her own abuse occurred. This in turn lead her to once again
confront her experience. But by now so much time had passed that she
felt it would be useless to bring it up. Instead, she accused her
abusers by proxy, projecting her past experience onto the Swans.
In otherwords she used the defense mechanism known as "misplaced
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank