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A former Bradley County middle school teacher has been indicted on charges that he touched one of the girls in his class during school hours.
Yet authorities won't explain what 50-year-old Mark Swanson is accused of doing that was considered illegal during Ocoee Middle School hours.
Two weeks ago, a Bradley County grand jury returned indictments against Swanson on four misdemeanor assault charges. The indictments show the alleged incident happened between Jan. 1 and 31 of this year and claims Swanson had unlawful physical contact with one of his students.
Bradley County Sheriff's Office Lt. David Shoemaker said the initial complaint came from one of the sixth-grade girl's family members. He said he didn't want to jeopardize the case and say what Swanson was accused of, but he explained that a hug, kiss, pat on the back or massage easily could fall under the indictment's charges.
Swanson's attorney Scott Kanavos said the Cleveland father of three has been falsely accused.
"Mark Swanson is a teacher, a coach and a mentor to thousands of children in Bradley County. I do not believe Mark Swanson is guilty of any crime," he said Friday afternoon. "And I will not believe it till such a time as either I stick my fingers in his nail-scarred hands or a jury convicts him of wrongdoing."
For the last five years, Swanson has taught sixth-grade math at Ocoee Middle, and his school biography shows he's active in missions at his church.
"I can honestly say I love my job and my school!" he wrote on his bio.
Bradley County Schools Administrator Dan Glasscock said Swanson hasn't taught his class since Feb. 6, but he wouldn't say whether Swanson was fired or on leave.
Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6659.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...