Knox County Courthouse

The Knox County Courthouse, 117 E. High St. in Mount Vernon.

MOUNT VERNON -- A Knox County grand jury Monday indicted a longtime Mount Vernon Nazarene University volleyball coach, charging him with sexually victimizing an 88-year-old nursing home resident.

Paul Swanson, 67, of 208 E. Vine St. was indicted for gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony.

Swanson is accused of holding an elderly woman’s hand and using it to rub his genitals on the afternoon of Sept. 21 at the Ohio Eastern Star Home.

Paul Swanson

Paul Swanson, 67, was indicted by a Knox County grand jury Monday on a charge of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony, following an alleged incident at the Ohio Eastern Star Home in Mount Vernon. (Knox Pages file photo)

The woman was impaired by a physical or mental condition, court and police reports indicate, which negated her ability to resist or consent. Swanson allegedly knew this.

Swanson was arrested and charged three days later by Mount Vernon police.

The grand jury, which met Monday at the Knox County Common Pleas Court, determined there was probable cause to believe Swanson committed the alleged crime. 

If found guilty, Swanson faces a potential sentence of six to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Because grand jury meetings are held in private, Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville would not discuss the details of Monday’s session.

He said the Mount Vernon police officer investigating the case presented “all the statements that were made by the parties in the case” to the grand jury, which is “the usual sort of presentation that you’d get for a case like this.”

McConville also confirmed a detail first reported by the Mount Vernon News on Tuesday, in that Swanson was allegedly seen committing the crime via a video feed from inside the victim’s room.

McConville said the video was not recorded – “it was more of a closed-circuit TV kind of thing” – as the cameras were used by nursing home staff for monitoring purposes.

Three nursing home staff members allegedly saw Swanson commit the crime, according to police reports.

Swanson’s attorney, Jonathon Spaulding, has yet to issue a statement on behalf of his client regarding the charge.

Swanson will be arraigned on Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. in Knox County Common Pleas Court.

Following arraignment, the prosecutor’s office will receive a discovery request from the defense counsel, McConville said. Then a trial date will be set.

“We’ll see if there’s any discussions about a plea or whether or not we’re going to have a trial,” McConville said. “Right now, I would expect – based on how things are being set – that a trial date’s not gonna happen until probably January.”

“They set the trials far enough out so that both parties will have exchanged discovery and had a chance to engage in some meaningful discussions on settlement before the trial date happens,” McConville added.

The Mount Vernon Police Department is still investigating this case, Det. Matt Haver said Wednesday.

Swanson was arrested Sept. 24 and released from the Knox County Jail three days later on his own recognizance, on the condition that he stay off the premises of the Ohio Eastern Star Home and cease contact with the alleged victim.

Swanson, a longtime volleyball coach and physical education professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, has been placed on administrative leave, according to a statement from the university.

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.