Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today, the SCPR provides a Stark County citizen the space to express her frustration with the functioning of the Stark County prosecutor's office.  Citizen Michelle Swonger, whose family, has had occasion to interact with Stark's prosecutor steps forward to give her account of the experience.

It is interesting to note that Mrs. Swonger's hometown newspaper, The Repository, in its editorial function has been silent on Prosecutor Ferrero's handling of the Swonger matter.  Prosecutor Ferrero seems to get a pass from Jeff Gauger et al.  Readers of Stark County's only countywide newspaper need to be asking themselves:  why does The Rep treat Ferrero with kid gloves?

A few days ago, The Report included a synopsis of the basis of the Swonger family experience, to wit:

There is a citizen living in Stark County that is absolutely furious with Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero.

She (Michelle Swonger) believes that the prosecutor's office undercharged the now former Canton City Schools official James Irvin for illegal activities in his relationship with her son Nick.  Moreover, she believes - because of the undercharge - that the prosecutor's office is responsible for Irvin serving only 61 days of an 18 month sentence, and only required to register as a sex offender for 15 years rather than for a lifetime which would have been attained if Irvin had been charged with and convicted of  sexual  battery and/or attempted sexual battery in addition to gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition and providing alcohol to an underage person that Irvin was actually charged with.

Swonger's son, Nick, came into contact with Irvin, who was pupil services director for the Canton City Schools at $101,972 annually, when Nick was 15.

CLICK HERE for a look at a FoxNews (Channel 8 - Cleveland) I-Team investigation video of Swonger's allegation and a history of the Irvin/Swonger relationship.

The question the SCPR has about the handling of the Irvin case (note that Curd talks about her "supervisers" in the Channel 8 video which one has to believe included Ferrero) is this:  Prosecutor Ferrero obviously has as a priority going after sexual predators, and it is widely known that prosecutors are prone to overcharge not undercharge (as Swonger alleges).

John Ferrero needs to explain his standard for charging/indicting to the Stark County public!

The SCPR will provide Prosecutor Ferrero with unfettered access to the Stark County public via The Report to explain in more detail (than is contained in the Fox 8 report) why his office handled the Swonger matter the way the office did.

Here is Mrs. Swonger's response (edited to take out material that might be offensive to some SCPR readers and also editing out what The Report considers to be irrelevant or otherwise objectional material):  

I voted for John Ferrero myself,at the time never having a clue my son would be the victim of a high profile sex abuse case of a top level Canton city School official-James Alan Irvin-
initially when my son was intimidated at coming up against such a community icon as Irvin, I went to Ferrero's website and pulled up cases of sex abuse of kids, and I printed many cases off for my son Nick to review,along with sharing with young Nick that Ferrero had allocated nearly 360,000.00 of Federal stimulus strictly to the Prosecutor's sex crimes unit.
As a registered voter, and tax payer myself, who must I remind Ferrero once again, that I helped vote him into office in this county, I am apalled at the fact that his office had this police recorded confession, along with two other police officers hear Irvin out of his own mouth, confess to Canton Baptist Temple outreach pastor, what act he had done on my son.
And how Irvin cried I quote " Neal my life is over, you dont understand  I sucked the kid's ...". (...) however two Summit County-Penninsula, OH police officers heard this on an open call from the pastor's cell phone to their precinct, police station-plus a 58 minute recorded confession by Stark County sheriff's dept investigators-encouraged my son Ferrero's office would fairly prosecute the case despite Irvin having such community influence-now my son Nick claims he would never turn in a sex offender again, he says all it did was make his life worst, public ridicule and humiliation, folks getting on the radio stations calling him horrible names and STATING IRVIN HAD TO PLEAD guilty because the kid set him up so bad,thus that is why he had such a short term sentence and the fact Irvin was allowed early judicial release.
...  This county has an agenda and they have key players and they all stick together to protect whomever till they can keep to their political agenda. ...
needless to say Ferrero wont be getting my vote again, if he wants to rectify anything he needs to fire Asst Prosecutor Curd, or perhaps she should have been included in last  weeks layoff announcement for his office.
I guess since either one are happening this speaks loud and clear this decision was HIS!!! What disillusionment of the justice system for such a young impressionable young man. 
How does a prosecutors office that allotted 360,000.00 specifically to their sex crimes unit allow a top school official of one of the top 8 school districts in OHIO walk free in just 61 days???  
Michelle Swonger
Canton, OH
Mother of Victim

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