Swank guilty of all charges; faces life plus 96 years

Patrick Thatcher STAFF WRITER
2009-08-26 18:37:52

VICTORVILLE •  Richard J. Swank, the former school psychologist accused of sexually and physically abusing his son for years, was found guilty Wednesday afternoon of all charges.

Swank, 47, of Apple Valley, is facing life in prison plus 96 years stemming from 11 counts of sexual abuse and one count of physical abuse the victim suffered over a 14-year period.

Deputy District Attorney Kathleen DiDonato said that Swank wept as the guilty verdicts were read in a packed court room filled with family members.

She said the victim was openly relieved.

“You could see it in his eyes, in his body and he said he can finally sleep tonight without the fear of his father coming after him,” DiDonato said.

During the five-day trail the jury heard testimony from the victim’s mother and siblings about the years of abuse the boy and the family suffered from Swank.

The victim revealed a horrendous life of not just sexual abuse and torture at the hands of his father, but also beatings almost daily, being made to stand in the corner for hours at a time and only being allowed to eat table scraps from the trash can after all the other family members finished eating.


The victim, now 24, and serving in the U.S. Army, is the fourth of 16 children ranging in age from 3 to 26. He was the only one to suffer the sexual abuse, according to testimony.

The victim came forward in 2008 and related the abuse to his mother and the two of them went to the police. Witnesses said the mother was never home during the sexual abuse and the other children were threatened if they said anything.

Swank’s ex-wife, Monita, testified that the abuse began when she was three months pregnant with her second child. She told about years of physical and emotional abuse that included threats to kill her and scatter her body parts far out in the desert.

She said they divorced in 2008 and the day after the divorce was final Swank married another woman. The new wife sat in the back of the courtroom for the entire trial and refused to comment about the trial or her marriage.


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Patrick Thatcher may be reached at 951-6227 or at pthatcher@VVDailyPress.com.