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Mental health court provision featured in South Ogden child kidnap plea agreement

By Mark Shenefelt - | Oct 5, 2021

Photo supplied, Adobe Stock

OGDEN — A 31-year-old South Ogden man pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of attempted child kidnapping after police said he tried to abduct a 10-year-old boy near an elementary school last spring.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Ethan Swisher pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony charge, reduced from the initially lodged first-degree charge. The plea agreement calls for Swisher to be given a prison sentence but that it be suspended on the condition that he move out of Weber County and complete mental health court in Davis County.

“We had many meetings with the parents of the victim,” deputy Weber County Attorney Patrick Tan said Tuesday. “We were able to reach a resolution based on the victim’s family’s concerns and feedback.”

On April 20, the boy’s father called police to report that a man tried to get his 10-year-old son to go with him. The man told the boy his parents had asked him to take him home, but the boy refused and ran from the man, Labbe said.

A Burch Creek Elementary crossing guard witnessed the incident from a distance and was able to identify Swisher, South Ogden police said, adding that they had received reports of Swisher hanging around the park.

“This resolution is what I hope will be a win-win situation for all parties involved,” Tan said. With a plea bargain, the boy will not face the potentially traumatic prospect of taking the stand to testify against Swisher, he said. And it is in Swisher’s interest to get mental health treatment rather than go to prison.

Plus, Tan said, Swisher would have the imposition of a prison sentence of one to 15 years “hanging over his head if he does not follow through” with the probational conditions.

Tan also stressed that nothing will be final until Judge Camille Neider sentences Swisher on Nov. 15. The judge is not bound by the plea bargain.

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