Tulsa Rape Arrest Prompts Reminder Of Potential Dangers Online

Tuesday, June 1st 2010, 5:24 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6  

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Police arrested a man accused of chatting with two young sisters online, then meeting them both in person for sex. The sisters are 12- and 14-years-old.

The News On 6 has learned this man was out on bail from another county for the same crime when police say he was committing these new ones. Detectives are very frustrated he's still at it and want to remind parents about the dangers lurking on places like Facebook and MySpace.

John Swyden, 21, was arrested on complaints of lewd molestation, forcible sodomy and second-degree rape with a female under 16.

Tulsa sex crimes detectives say John Swyden chatted with a 12-year-old online, then she snuck out and met him and she says he forced her to perform a sex act. They say he kept messaging her, wanting to meet again, but she refused, so her 14-year-old sister met him and they had sex.

Detectives say it's obvious from the conversations he knew the girls were underage.

"When dealing with young people and they get on these social networking sites, they're being exposed to elements of the world without your supervision," said Ret. Sgt. Gary Stansill, Tulsa Police.

Stansill says the girls' father saw some of the online conversations and called police. During their investigation, Tulsa detectives learned Swyden was out on bond from Creek County on similar charges. 

In that case, from last fall, detectives say Swyden admitted chatting with a 13-year-old girl on MySpace, then meeting her in person and having sex with her twice. She too, claimed part of the encounter was forced, although he denies that.

"It's very frustrating to see this stuff happening over and over again. That's the reason we wanted to put this out to the public. Look, this guy didn't stop and other people are out there doing this. We're getting more and more of these types of cases," said Stansill.

Stansill says parents need to closely monitor their kids' online and texting conversations because young people can't always discern who is online and people can pretend to be anyone, with often, tragic results.

"They can be groomed and seduced on the Internet in your own home," said Stansill.

The Creek County case against Swyden is pending, with his next court date set for July 7th. He's hasn't yet been arraigned on the Tulsa charges. 

There is software available that alerts parents whenever cyber bullying, sexting or talk of suicide or drugs is taking place on their child's phone or computer. It also tells parents if someone is trying to meet with their child. 

Learn more about the software.