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Reports allege abuse of boys by sergeant.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

A Lane County sheriff's sergeant who resigned April 1 in lieu of termination is alleged to have sexually abused a 17-year-old boy repeatedly during a period in which the youth participated in the department's Explorer program, investigative reports show.

The reports, released by Eugene police in response to a Register-Guard public records request, state that the alleged victim thought of Fred Swank as a "trusted mentor" but now realizes the former sheriff's sergeant was grooming him for abuse by paying extra attention to him during Explorer functions.

The 78 pages of investigative documents include accounts of 30 interviews conducted earlier this year by Eugene police detectives who handled the case at sheriff's officials' request.

Most of the people interviewed by detectives said they had never seen Swank display any inappropriate sexual behavior when he worked as an adviser to the Explorer program, the reports show.

But two men who participated in the volunteer program said Swank initiated sexual encounters with them when they were minors.

One of the men said he was 15 when he met Swank, and that it was about two years later that he first had sexual contact with him. The alleged victim said the contact "occurred several more times on several more occasions" before he turned 18, Detective Dan Braziel wrote.

The man said he continued a sexual relationship with Swank into adulthood, and that the contact always occurred at Swank's Florence home, the report states.

The second alleged victim spoke to police about two incidents in which he said Swank initiated sexual contact with him. It is not clear how old the victim was when the alleged abuse occurred.

All of the reports released by Eugene police are heavily redacted to protect the privacy of the alleged victims and others interviewed by detectives.

Lane County prosecutors reviewed the police investigation and declined to file charges against Swank, 43.

In one of the cases, the statute of limitations has expired. In the other, the alleged victim requested that the case not be prosecuted, Braziel wrote in a report.

It is not clear which of the alleged victims asked authorities to not file charges. The statute of limitations for felony sex crimes against a minor expires after a victim turns 30.

Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner said following Swank's resignation that the alleged abuse took place more than 17 years ago.

Swank worked 21 years for the sheriff's office before he resigned and forfeited his law enforcement certificate, which means he may no longer work as a police officer.
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Title Annotation:Local News; Documents released by Eugene police show that the apparent victim considered Fred Swank a "mentor"
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 12, 2011
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