Parents, neighbors react to teacher’s aide arrest for exposing genitals to child

Parents and neighbors said they were shocked Tuesday to learn that a teacher’s aide is facing charges for exposing himself to a child with disabilities.

Beloit police, along with Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children, arrested 45-year-old Scott Swanson on Monday morning in the parking lot of The Richardson School.

Capt. Dan Molland said officials arrested Swanson before he went to work. He was employed at The Richardson School as a teacher’s aide. Police said Swanson exposed his genitalia to a 17-year-old who has behavioral and mental-health disabilities.

“I feel surprised, shocked, that a person that’s an authority and trusted could pull something like this,” said Valerie Melson, who lives across the street from the school.

A parent who didn’t want to be identified but has a child who attends The Richardson School said she found out about the arrest on social media and couldn’t believe it.

“I still very much want to believe in the good of our school,” the parent said. “But our trust has been violated. One of our own is hurting and has been subjected to something no child or individual with developmental or intellectual disabilities should ever be subjected to.”

In a statement, The Richardson School said it “makes safety a top priority, and monitors contacts between clients and staff very carefully. Procedures are in place to conduct background checks on all incoming employees, and the individual arrested passed both state and national background checks prior to his hire.”

Melson said she’s a little uneasy knowing that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have played outside just across the street from the school.

“The idea of just something like that happening so close to home is kind of scary because if it can happen in your backyard, where else can it happen?” she said.

Molland said ICAC is still investigating the incident.

“They wanted to check school computers that he (Swanson) had access to, to make sure that there wasn’t any evidence of any other crimes, and they did not find any,” Molland said.

Swanson was in the Rock County Jail on Tuesday night. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in court at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“I’m just glad they’ve got him and he can’t do it again, and I hope he doesn’t do it again,” Melson said.

Swanson faces charges of lewd and lascivious behavior, exposing genitals to a child, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.