Charles G. Swindell, a 50-year-old resident of Palm Coast, has a long and violent history, particularly with his own family–his mother and his children. But he’s served relatively little time in jail for his felony and misdemeanor convictions since 2013. That may change with his most serious charge yet: raping a child entrusted to him.
In 2013 he became enraged against his mother to the point of threatening to kill her. He told her she was “going to burn and die just like dad did.” He would repeat the threats while violating an injunction against him, and was found guilty of a felony. He spent one day in jail, and when he was arrested for violating the injunction, spent less than half an hour there.
Two years later he was re-arrested on a felony child abuse charge when, supposedly for fun, he took his eyeglasses case that had been baking in the sun in the car and burned his girlfriend’s 11-year-old son’s cheek by branding him with the metal logo on the case. He told authorities it was just to “play around.”
He was charged with a second and a third degree felony. Both charges were diminished to a second-degree misdemeanor of culpable negligence, to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to time already served in jail: a little over three months.
In 2017, he was arrested on three felonies, including burglary, after allegedly stealing a man’s gun then texting him to sell it back to him. All the charges were dropped.
In late October, a warrant was issued for Swindell’s arrest on a charge of raping a child between the ages of 12 and 18, a first-degree felony punishable by life in prison without parole. The child, according to the information filed on Nov. 18, is “a person in familial or custodial authority,” meaning a member of his own family or household. (On his Facebook page, Swindell’s profile picture is headlined by the phrase: “love my kids.”)
The heavily redacted arrest report traces a series of alleged abusive assaults of a girl going back more than a year, all of them taking place in Swindell’s pick-up truck in various locations. Someone–the identity of the person is redacted in the report–had become suspicious and planted two iPads in the truck. The iPads were set on record. Swindell himself was suspicious that someone was doing just that. He gave the girl a flashlight and had her search the vehicle.
In a courageous move that would prove to put an end to the alleged assaults, she uncovered both iPads but told him of only one of them, and left the other in place. She left the iPad recording “cause I personally knew something would happen,” she would later tell authorities. Still, his suspicions were not allayed. “You don’t think they’d put two in there?” he asked. She managed to ensure that the second iPad avoided detection.
The recording, which picks up the distinctive sounds of sexual activity and of Swindell himself speaking suggestively and explicitly about his behavior, was turned over to authorities and became the basis of the investigation starting in October.
The defense may ask a judge to throw out the recordings as illegal under a Florida law that bars audio recordings without consent in places where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as Swindell did inside his truck), But there is an exception to the law. Since 2015 an amendment to the law exempts children secretly recording potentially abusive acts. The loophole the defense may exploit in this case is that it wasn’t the alleged victim who placed the iPad in the truck. But by taking the action she did and knowingly keeping the second iPad hidden, the minor girl in essence made the recording her own, unwittingly enabling prosecutors to get around the loophole, should the issue arise in court. (Another feature Swindell liked to highlight on his Facebook page: his pick-up trucks.)
The girl was extremely reluctant to cooperate with authorities and the Child Protection Team: Swindell had repeatedly threatened harm and prison if she spoke. Swindell Used techniques common to child abusers, who typically turn the tables on their victims, making them look either like the perpetrators or like the guilty party. He told the girl that if authorities found out about the acts, she would be the one to go to jail, and harm would come to her family.
He did so on most of the seven occasions when he raped her, at times allegedly using force and against her will, overcoming her attempts to free herself. Any sexual act by an adult with a child is unlawful under Florida law, but–depending on the girl’s age–the distinction between forcible and consensual sex is the difference between “unlawful sex with a minor” and outright rape–the difference between a second and a first degree felony, or the difference between some prison time and life and prison.
Swindell is being held at the Flagler County jail without bond. He was transferred there from the Putnam County jail on Monday. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark. Assistant Public Defender Regina Nunnally is representing Swindell. His arraignment before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins is scheduled for Nov. 30 at 9 a.m.
According to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, children who are victims of sexual abuse are far more likely to be abused by someone they know than by strangers. For girls between ages 12 and 17, a family member was the offender in 24 percent of cases, and a person known to the victim was the offender in 66 percent of cases, according to the bureau’s findings, leaving just 10 percent of cases as assaults involving a stranger. It is also estimated that two-thirds of sexual abuse goes unreported.
Thoroughly Disgusted says
WHY is this guy NOT in jail? If he was arrested for non-payment of a traffic ticket or possession of pot, he’d be in but for violence, theft, threatening to kill his mother, and RAPE, he’s out? This is why people don’t trust in the judicial or so-called Child Protection Services. Unbelievable!
He is in jail
Because the State always messes up the evidence and he hides a good lawyer. I know him. He is vile and hopefully he gets lifenfeom this..
Only Me says
When are the Judges in Flagler County going to stop slapping these scum bags on the wrists and letting them go????? It happens way too often.
What are they waiting for murder????
Fellow Palm Coaster says
This all concerns me, yet doesn’t surprise me with the way things are these days. However, If he truly said to his mother she would burn and die like dad did; the question arises, is it possible he was responsible for his father’s death?? Should have been investigated further. Just saying!
TONI SWINDELL says
MY DADDY WAS CHARLES BILLY SWINDELL FROM LUDOWICI GA BUT MOVED TO BALDWIN FL WITH SARA CONNERS SWINDELL AND MY DADDY DIED IN A MOBILE HOME FIRE SO MAYBE ONE DAY THIS COLD CASE WILL BE SOLVED. SARA IS DEAD AND I KNOW SHE HELPED TO KILL MY DAD. CHARLES WAS 7 YRS OLD WHEN MY DAD DIED. SOLVE IT PLEASE WE HAVE WAITED SINCE 1976 !!!!! TONI SWINDELL
When you rape a child, you murder their spirit. I guess that doesn’t count.
This is what happens when criminals get just a slap on the wrist!
Don’t worry–Although the justice system has repeatedly failed to bring about justice where this individual is concerned, he will receive jailhouse justice for sure, at the hands of those who possess as little, or less, conscience than he does.
Greg Jolley says
Excellent coverage. Thank you!
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!! says
HOW MUCH MORE DAMAGE TO PEOPLE AND CHILDREN IS THIS MONSTER GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO DO???!!!
I know people make stupid mistakes, because no one is perfect. BUT, these are NOT just, stupid decisions.. these are a 100% actions of a serial monster! It’s sickening and very worry some to know, individuals like these are breathing and taking away oxygen from society. MUCH RESPECT to the little girl, who took a HUGE risk at saying there was only one iPad and leaving the other one. God only knows, what he would of done to her if, he would of found out she did not tell him the truth. I pray and hope this judicial system does not violate and hurt this child anymore than he has already done and let him off AGAIN. They’re ready to sentence ones with drug issues to the max and send them to prison for YEARS, but then they go and allow a MONSTER, like this one continue to walk around free. What’s it going to take, for him to kill somebody??! Even then, he might just get a scolding and a slap on the wrist. I pray that God helps this child heal and be able to overcome what she has gone through. 🙏🏼🙏🏼
What is wrong with the judges in Florida (palm coast). I read the most heinous crimes committed and the judges just let them out for little bail or small fines. It’s totally unacceptable and ineptitude of the judges. Unless the courts tighten up Florida is going to suffer more felonies and criminal behaviors than it already has. We are new here and I find it ridiculous that criminals are roaming EVERYWHERE WAY TOO FREE. MANY WITH MULTIPLE ARRESTS.
White Bronco says
Always be mindful of friends, neighbors, and community.. proactive society thrives.
Encourage other people to commit crimes, because they know they will get little to no punishment. lol at is race, not surprised they did not keep him in jail.He is not a person of color, just saying.
Piece of shit that’s how you treat your family and the system lets you get away with it. Good for the daughter to stand up to him. iPad should be allowed she has proof of what was happening to her. The he said she said would have not worked for her.
Concerned Citizen says
First off he didn’t make a mistake. He made cold calculated choices. He doesn’t need mental health counciling. He’s just a nasty mean asshole who doesn’t give a shit about anyone. The world is sadly full of them but society tries to make excuses and give them a mental health pass.
I fault our Judges and DA for this one. Stop reducing charges on serious offenses. And stop allowing light sentencing on repeat serious offenders. IT’S NOT WORKING!! And it puts society at risk as seen in this instance here.
Our deputies try to do a good job putting serious offenders away. But have no say in the bond schedule or sentencing guidelines. We need to get those phones busy with our zJudges and DAs office. And let them know this is unacceptable. These ridiculous bonds issued on serious offense jeopardize the safety of our community.
I did not stay in Law Enforcement long because of the revolving door our judicial system has created. And am glad I am not in it anymore. I found my career much more peaceful fighting fires and saving lives. You cannot imagine the frustration of working to get a perp like this off the street. Only to have him walk 2 hours later because our Judges and DA are assholes who don’t care.
One can only hope that he gets locked up and gets assigned to GP. Once GP finds out his charges they will enhance his sentencing. And make life miserable for him.
And to his victims. I am sorry. Please get the help you need to cope with this.