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Pair facing charges as abuse probe continues at Indiana County day care

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

The owner of a rural Indiana County day care center and her younger brother are facing multiple criminal charges in connection with an ongoing child abuse investigation at the facility near Marion Center.

The Crystal L. Pfeiffer Family Day Care at 3161 Dixonville Road in Grant Township was closed in late June as a result of the investigation, according to police reports.

Todd R. Swaynie, 44, of Dixonville Road, Grant Township, was charged June 11 with counts of aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors and indecent assault after the mother of a 7-year-old girl told police Swaynie had inappropriately touched the girl. Swaynie was employed as a handyman at the facility operated by his sister, Crystal L. Pfeiffer, 45.

The complaint on June 8 prompted state police to question parents of other children who were cared for at the facility since 2002 when Pfeiffer opened it.

As a result of the investigation, state police said they believe three more children who attended the day care may have been abused by Swaynie, including one girl who is now 18.

The mother of that alleged victim told police that Swaynie attempted to abuse her daughter a decade ago and she immediately complained to Pfeiffer, Trooper Allison J. Goswick wrote in the affidavit of probable cause filed before Clymer District Judge George Thachik.

The mother said she was told by Pfeiffer then “that she would talk to Swaynie and that he would no longer be permitted in the day care,” Goswick said.

The facility, which is Pfeiffer's home, was certified by the state Department of Public Welfare to care for up to six children.

Officials from the state Department of Public Welfare did not respond to calls seeking comment.

In the affidavit of probable cause, Goswick said the mother of the 18-year-old told her that “she took (Pfeiffer's) word then that Swaynie wouldn't be in the day care.”

In another alleged incident, a 7-year-old girl reported that last summer she was inappropriately touched by Swaynie.

When Pfeiffer was interviewed about the numerous incidents, she recalled discussing the incident a decade ago with the girl's parents, Goswick said.

“She advised that she does remember telling the victim's mother she would keep the defendant away from the victim. She advised that it was up to the victim's mother to do something about the incident, not her,” Goswick wrote.

In his June 11 interview with state police Trooper Robert Valyo, Swaynie admitted to abusing the most recent victim.

“(Swaynie) admitted that he had been alone with the victim at the time that the two incidents occurred. He ... had routinely worked at the day care to help his sister with yard work and occasionally house work while the children were there,” Trooper Deanna Kirkland wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.

Pfeiffer was charged last week with nine counts of endangering the welfare of children for not reporting various child abuse incidents over the past 11 years. She was released on recognizance bond.

Attempts to reach Pfeiffer, who was released on signature bond, were unsuccessful.

Thachik has increased Swaynie's bail from $25,000 to $40,000, according to court documents. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled at 11 a.m. on Tuesday before Thachik.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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