Mount Vernon Nazarene volleyball coach facing sex charge involving woman in nursing home

Paul Swanson (Knox County Jail)

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio – The longtime women’s volleyball head coach at Mount Vernon Nazarene University is charged with a fourth-degree felony count of gross sexual imposition, according to police, court and jail records.

On Sept. 21, 67-year-old Paul Swanson is accused of exposing himself at a nursing home and forcing someone he knows to make sexual contact with him. The police report states that three staff members witnessed the incident. According to the warrant, the alleged victim is “impaired by physical or mental condition.”

Swanson is in custody at the Knox County Jail. By Wednesday morning, the news had spread throughout campus.

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“It was disappointing,” said Rachel Kennedy, a sophomore at the school. “It happens everywhere, and we just have to support the team and just be there for everyone and pray for him.”

Fellow student Keirstan Hall said many people were comforting one another during chapel services that morning. And counselors were on hand as well.

“It’s bringing us closer together, I think, as a community of MVNU, which is really great for everybody, but it’s really disappointing that something like that had to happen, but I feel like this is going to make us stronger as a community at MVNU,” Hall said.

10TV reached out to the assisted living facility where police say the crime happened. 10TV is not naming the facility in order to protect the identify of the alleged victim in this case.

“I would like to commend our staff,” the CEO said. “They are a very skilled and trained staff that are incredibly caring and do a phenomenal job. We are cooperating fully with the authorities and working with them to help in any way that we can.”

10TV also stopped by Swanson’s house. The woman who answered the door would only say, “God will have the victory.”

In an e-mailed statement, MVNU President Henry Spaulding II said:

“I am writing to inform you that the University learned today that Coach Paul Swanson was arrested and charged with an alleged criminal act alleged to involve inappropriate behavior. 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 and was unrelated to any person affiliated with the University, past or present.

This was shocking news to us, as Coach Swanson has been a positive presence in our campus community for many years. 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. Therefore, we have placed Coach Swanson on administrative leave, effective immediately. As this is a legal matter, we will have no further comment. We ask for your prayers for all involved.”

Swanson has been head coach of the women’s volleyball program at MVNU for 36 years and has won more than 1,100 games.

He was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Hall of Fame for the National Christian College Athletic Association in 2005.

NCCAA executive director Dan Wood released a statement saying, “Our first course of action is to pray for all involved, including possible victims, their families, Coach Swanson and his family, and the MVNU community. No action will be taken on his HOF status until the case is brought to complete closure.”

Swanson’s bond hearing is scheduled on Friday.