James Swets, Son Of Swetsville Zoo Founder, Pleads Not Guilty To 16 Counts Of Alleged Child Sexual Assault
James Swets, a 46-year-old Fort Collins man who has been charged with 16 counts of child sex assault for the alleged abuse of seven teenage girls, will return home in time for the holidays, the Reporter-Herald reports. Swets pleaded not guilty to all 16 counts on Tuesday.
According to The Coloradoan, Judge Devin Odell permitted Swets, who has been free on bond since shortly after his arrest on Oct. 24, to move back to his family home on Tuesday.
Swets' family home is on the Swetsville Zoo property in Tinmath, a sculpture park featuring dozens of welded-metal creatures that Swets' father founded, but Swets is not allowed to go to any of the public areas of the park. After much debate about whether or not Swets could make contact with children in the park, Judge Odell decided that his return does not pose an immediate threat.
Fox31 reported back in October when Swets was first arrested that Swets would allegedly provide the young girls with alcohol and cigarettes to entice them to various locations for the purpose of sexual contact. According to a Larimer County Sheriff's Office press release, the alleged assaults are believed to have taken place over a two year period and primarily involved inappropriate touching.
Police said that some of the assaults occurred at Swets' home, but no visitors to the zoo were victims, 9News reported in October.