Preliminary exam adjourned for basketball coach accused of sexual assault.

August 6, 2018

Defense attorney Mark Miller, at left, and Russell Swihart.

Preliminary exam adjourned for basketball coach accused of sexual assault.

#OceanaCountyCrime

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — A preliminary exam for a 35-year-old high school basketball coach charged with five felony counts of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) was adjourned Monday, Aug. 6, in 78th District Court.

Russell Douglas Swihart’s charges stem from the alleged sexual assaults of two 13-year-old female players.

Swihart, of 5755 N. 192nd Ave., Walkerville, is charged with first-degree CSC, second-degree CSC, two counts of accosting children for immoral purposes and child sexually-abusive activity.

He was arrested June 25 following an “ongoing investigation” that began March 27, Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast said. The sheriff’s office interviewed several witnesses over the last few months.

Swihart, who is free after posting $100,000/cash/surety bond, appeared in court Monday with his attorney Mark Miller.

Swihart was the boys JV basketball coach at Walkerville High School and assisted with the JV girls basketball team, Mast said.

“The subject of this investigation does not currently work with Walkerville students. As an additional precaution during this time, school officials have directed this person to not be on school property until further notice,” said an emailed statement from the school.

The alleged incidents occurred in Crystal Township, said Judge H. Kevin Drake.

The defense attorney said he hired an expert to review materials that are alleged to be child pornography. He asked the judge for a delay, so he and the expert can review the materials.

Pictured left to right: Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon, defense attorney Mark Miller and former Walkerville High School JV Basketball Coach Russell Swihart.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon asked the judge to proceed. “I have witnesses here who are ready.”

Judge Drake granted Miller’s motion for an adjournment, stating that the attorney needs an opportunity to review the evidence.

The preliminary exam is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 1:30 p.m. Judge Drake continued Swihart’s bond.

The preliminary exam is expected to take approximately three hours. “It’s an involved case,” Drake said.

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