A Missouri father, whose teenager daughter has allegedly been impregnated by a 36-year-old man, wants parents to pay attention to what their children are doing so they might avoid a similar situation.
Joseph Swopes of Webster County, Missouri, has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor and is facing five charges of statutory rape.
According to a probable cause statement, Swopes admitted that he started having sex with the then-15-year-old girl in June 2015. He had sex with her twice a month until March 2016, and the vast majority of the sexual encounters took place at his home. The teenager, whose name has not been revealed to protect her identity, is pregnant with Swopes’ child.
On March 16, law enforcement was informed that Swopes was allegedly bragging about the relationship and planning to leave town with the teenager. He had told various individuals, including his children, that he was “going to be gone for a while,” as reported by Marshfield Mail.
Her father, who will also remain anonymous, told KSPR that he was traveling for work when officials contacted him.
"I couldn’t believe it," he said. "It’s something you don’t want to hear. I mean, as a father, it tears you apart."
According to the father, Swopes attended family gatherings in order to get closer to the teenager.
"Dinners with the family, coming over for prayer meetings with the family," he said. "And then, come to find out, that wasn’t what he was wanting at all. He was [wanting] to get to the young girl."
Swopes, who has teenage children of his own, admitted to Detective Rick Hamilton that he knew it was wrong to have sex with a minor. The father confronted him after hearing rumors, but Swopes denied the relationship.
"She’s a 16-year-old girl with a baby on the way," he said. "Still got to finish school, still got to go through life, and deal with this. All of us have to deal with this for the rest of our lives."
The father wants to warn parents to monitor their children.
"You need to go through all their social media, emails, texts, and just monitor it because you don’t know who they’re talking to and what may happen," he said. "This could happen to anybody, anywhere. And it happens every day."