Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes
FARMINGTON — Marc Ray Swain did more than place a camera in a bathroom to secretly record a young girl, according to Davis County prosecutor Matthew Janzen.
During a children's justice court interview, Janzen said the girl told investigators that Swain — a former Weber County Sheriff's Office employee — would enter her room at night and tickle her feet to see if she was asleep.
She'd try to stay still, Janzen recounted in a 2nd District Courtroom Wednesday, and she'd hold all of her stuffed animals tight while Swain sexually abused her.
These incidents occurred during the same nine months that Swain was secretly recording the girl, a crime for which he was arrested in 2021.
And it's telling of the "trauma and fright" imposed upon her, Janzen said, that Swain had been in custody for months before the girl felt safe enough to talk about the additional abuse.
Swain, 49, was sentenced Wednesday to two terms of one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison, ordered to run consecutively, with credit for time served. He'll also be required to complete sex offender treatment before being paroled.
Swain was a Weber-Metro crime scene investigator when he was arrested in January 2021 and accused of spying on the young girl. A CSI member is not a sworn law enforcement officer.
The girl found a suspected recording device and told her mother, who confronted Swain. Swain "said it was a flash drive that he had accidentally dropped in the bathroom" but the mother noted "that the positioning of the flash drive made her believe it could not have been an accident," according to charging documents. After examining the device, the mother "confirmed the device was a flash drive with a built-in camera lens on the bottom of the drive," the charges state.
Swain later admitted to placing the recording device in the bathroom on three separate occasions, according to a police affidavit filed after his arrest.
He was charged in March 2021 with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, as well as attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of voyeurism, both third-degree felonies.
In exchange for pleading guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, the remaining charges were dropped.
He was later charged with sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, and pleaded guilty in July 2022.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Swain was fired after his arrest. Layton police investigated the case and Davis County prosecuted it to avoid any conflict of interest in Weber County.
During Wednesday's sentencing, defense attorney Tara Isaacson requested a year in jail for Swain rather than a prison term. Swain has taken responsibility for his actions, she said, and he has no prior criminal history. With his education and work background, he has skills that make him employable, she added.
Quoting from a pre-sentencing report, Isaacson said Swain is "a defendant who ... appears to exhibit remorse." She also expressed concern that in prison, Swain might wait up to two years to receive sex offender treatment due to high demand.
But Judge Michael Direda said he wants Swain to leave incarceration with "a sizable amount of treatment under his belt," even if that means waiting in prison to receive it. There are no sex offender resources at the jail, Direda said, meaning Swain would not be a better, safer person by the time of his release.
"My focus isn't entirely the punishment piece," Direda said. "On balance, it seems like (sending Swain to prison) would be the right thing to do with respect to protecting the community."
Janzen added that Swain didn't take responsibility for his actions during his first police interview. Instead, he "absolutely denied" hurting the girl.
The girl deserves to grow up knowing that Swain is incarcerated and she is safe, Janzen said. While it's appropriate for Swain to receive treatment, he should get it in prison, not in the community, the prosecutor added.
"It's right and just that (Swain) have more of a sentence here," Janzen said.
Swain sat with his head down for most of the proceedings. A tissue box was passed around as several observers became emotional.
When invited to speak, Swain unfolded a piece of paper to read from.
He apologized to everyone involved and said, "Words cannot convey how terrible I feel for what I've done."
The girl's father also spoke, asking Direda to consider that Swain is a former law enforcement office employee who "preyed multiple times" on a young girl and should be in prison.
"He harmed my daughter. He's harmed my relationship with my daughter," the father said, asking Direda to incarcerate Swain as long as possible so he can receive treatment.
Just before handing down the sentence, Direda said some people are held to higher standards because of their positions in life. A former employee of a law enforcement office is one of those, he said.
"Trust was placed in you. ... You've violated that trust," he told Swain.
Direda said he wants to know that when Swain is released it will be with as much treatment as possible, which is why he chose prison rather than jail time. The intention isn't to destroy Swain's life, he said, but to rehabilitate him.
However, "I will always err on the side of public safety over rehabilitation," Direda said.
The judge also said he sincerely wishes Swain well and hopes he succeeds.
"I want you to reach your potential," Direda told Swain.