Shelby Girls Soccer Coach, SRO Suspended Amid Investigation

  • 10/8/2019 1:53:11 PM
  • Sartaj Singh
  • Local News

SHELBY, OH - An investigation in an incident involving Shelby's Girls Soccer Coach resulted in no charges being filed due to a lack of evidence. 

The investigation was launched after allegations arose against School Resource Officer and Girls Soccer Head Coach Keith Swisher. 

On September 27th, Shelby Schools Superintendent notified the Shelby Police Department that a teacher overheard a conversation between two students. The two students stated that Swisher had walked through the Girl's Locker Room at the Field House while either the Soccer or Cross County Girls were present in the Field House locker rooms. 

Officer Swisher was then immediately placed on paid administrative leave by the Shelby Police Department and suspended from his coaching duties. An investigation was then launched by two supervisors, who conducted parallel inquiries into the allegation. 

One supervisor conducted a criminal investigation, while the other conducted an internal investigation for policy violations. 

20 Student Athletes were interviewed from two different teams. Parents were also notified of the allegation. Staff and coaches were also interviewed. Officer Swisher submitted both criminal and internal interviews, according to the Shelby Police Department. 

Attorney John Studenmund received the criminal investigation findings per a request from the Shelby Law Director Gordon Eyster. The Attorney reviewed the file and on October 7th declined charges on the case due to a lack of evidence. 

As a result of the internal investigation, Officer Swisher was disciplined and received documented cautioning and instruction for not following department rules. He was counseled on accessing the offices using only the male locker room access and to announce his presence and/or have another staff member with him at all times when it is neccesary to access a female-only portion of any school or other building. 

Swisher's administrative leave was recinded after being disciplined. He is currently reinstated at full duty. 

His status with Shelby City Schools in both his coaching capacity and as the Shelby City Schools RSO have been referred to the Shelby Board of Education. 

Shelby Police Department Chief of Police Lance Combs reviewed both the criminal and internal investigation and determined the following:

Officer Swisher did in fact pass through the female side of the Field House on more than one occasion in order to access the coaching offices to change for soccer practice. This occurred prior to the official start of school while off-duty and also on at least one occasion off-duty but while in uniform after the start of the school year. No female student athletes were undressed when he passed through. At no time did he stop, loiter, linger, or engage with the athletes in the locker room. While there is a shower facility in that locker room, it is used as storage and not actively as a shower. There are no restroom facilities in that locker room.

The Field House is a symmetrically designed building with a common area at the front and coaching offices at the rear. There are male and female doors at the front of the building from the common area, but the large locker rooms on both the male and female sides must be walked through to reach either the track and field area or the coaching offices.

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