Knox County Jail

MOUNT VERNON — Paul Swanson, women’s volleyball coach at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, was arrested Tuesday and charged with Gross Sexual Imposition.

Swanson, 67, was booked and incarcerated in the Knox County Jail with no bail for the fourth-degree felony charge.

The charge stems from Sept. 21. Mount Vernon Police reports state that Swanson was observed by staff at a local retirement home using an elderly woman’s hand to touch his genitals. The woman is impaired by a “physical or mental condition,” according to reports.

The gross sexual imposition charge carries the stipulation that the woman was unable to resist or consent because of her condition.

The woman’s exact age is not given in reports.

Swanson is scheduled for arraignment Friday in Mount Vernon Municipal Court. Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville said his office will likely recommend release on a recognizance bond.

“There will be a no contact order in place that it shouldn’t be very problematic following,” McConville said.

McConville said “there are still parts (of the case) that are being investigated.”

MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II said in a press release that Swanson has been placed on administrative leave.

“The news of Coach Swanson’s arrest is a shock to me and to everyone at the university,” Spaulding said. “The information we have is limited, but we have been made aware by law enforcement authorities that the behavior is not alleged to have taken place on campus or involve any person affiliated with the university, past or present. Like every American, he is innocent until proven guilty. However, when a charge of this nature is made against a member of the MVNU family, we must respond swiftly with a focus on ensuring the safety and health of our students and staff. We offer our prayers for all who are impacted by these developments.”

Spaulding said there will be no further comment from the university on the matter.

Swanson is in his 36th season as the head coach of the MVNU women’s volleyball program, and is the second winningest active coach in the NAIA with a record of 1,151-448.

In 2008, Swanson was named to the NAIA Hall of Fame. He was named to the NCCAA Hall of Fame in 2005 and then became the NAIA’s all-time wins leader and was inducted into the MVNU Cougar Wall of Fame in 2006.

He also has a playing floor named after him at the university: MVNU dedicated the Paul Swanson Court at Ariel Arena in a ceremony last year. The ceremony was announced as a surprise on Swanson.

The MVNU volleyball team played a game Tuesday as scheduled, against Ohio Dominican in Columbus.

A native of Illinois, Swanson graduated from North Park College and then became an assistant coach at West Virginia University while working on his master’s degree.

Swanson also teaches in the Physical Education Department at MVNU.

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