Joseph Swopes

Several counts of statutory rape have been filed against a Seymour man for allegedly carrying on a sexual relationship with a juvenile female.

Law enforcement received information in February that the suspect, Joseph Swopes, 36, had been bragging at work about having sexual intercourse with a teenager believed to be either 15 or 16 years old.

Det. Rick Hamilton with the Webster County Sheriff’s Office said in a probable cause statement he was able to make contact by phone with Swopes and left a message for him to call him back. The next day, Swopes came to the sheriff’s office and was interviewed by Hamilton.

During the interview, Swopes at first denied having a relationship with an underage female, but then later admitted he was having sexual relations with the teen, according to the statement. The first sexual incident reportedly occurred around June 2015, when the girl was 15, and continued up until early March of this year. All incidents except for one happened at his residence, Swopes said. Hamilton said Swopes admitted to knowing it was wrong for him to have intercourse with the underage girl.

The alleged victim was also interviewed later the same day at the sheriff’s office. She confirmed several sexual incidents had occurred with Swopes, beginning last summer and continuing until last month.

Hamilton said in the statement, law enforcement received information March 16 that Swopes was possibly going to leave town with the teen in tow. The suspect was reportedly contacting the victim and telling people, including his children, he was “going to be gone a while,” according to the statement.

Swopes was arrested the next day in Seymour and has since been charged with five counts of second-degree statutory rape, a Class C felony. His bond was originally set at $85,000, but was reduced to $40,000 by Webster County Associate Circuit Judge David Tunnell at a March 28 hearing. Swopes has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is currently out on bond and has his next court hearing set for April 25.

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