Fort Collins' Swetsville Zoo is a slice of Americana -- a roadside attraction featuring charming metallic sculptures zoo creator Bill Swets crafted mostly from spare parts and scrap. It's the last place in the world where anyone would expect sexual assaults to take place -- but those are the accusations leveled against James William Swets, Bill's 46 year-old son.
Yesterday, as reported by the Fort Collins Coloradoan, James, a welder by trade, was advised of the charges against him -- as many as sixteen, including five dealing with sexual assault on a child with a pattern of abuse, seven involving contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one attempted unlawful sexual contact beef. The victim total put forward by authorities to date: seven teenage girls over the past two years.
The arrest affidavit in the case is currently sealed, owing to the ages of the alleged victims. But according to the Coloradoan, James is suspected of luring the girls into places like the house on the zoo property where he lives with his wife, Ginger, using alcohol and cigarettes as enticements, and then touching them in inappropriate ways.
At this point, there's no evidence to suspect that visitors to the zoo, which is usually free, were among those claiming to have received James's unwanted attention, and Ginger defended her husband to the Coloradoan. She also lamented the impact the arrest was having on Bill, the family patriarch.
No doubt the thousands of people who've toured and enjoyed the Swetsville Zoo since its mid-Eighties birth are feeling pretty weird, too. Look below to see a larger version of James's mug shot.
James William Swets.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Colorado's cold case backlog: 1,518 murders still unsolved."