Man hits school aide accused of molesting his daughter

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 11:28 p.m.
TAMPA - An angry father who marched into a classroom and punched a teacher's assistant in the face said Wednesday he was protecting his 15-year-old daughter, who had accused the man of inappropriately touching her.
Dave F. Swafford, 42, was charged with felony battery on a school employee after he hit the 35-year-old aide in front of a class full of students at Lakewood Ranch High School near Bradenton Tuesday morning, authorities said. He was also named "Father of the Year" by a local radio station for his actions.
"I'm not real proud of what I did," Swafford told The Associated Press Wednesday. "You have to protect your children, and my daughter does not lie to me."
Because of the allegation, the school placed the assistant on paid leave Tuesday, school district spokeswoman Margi Nanney said. He has not been charged, but Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said deputies are investigating.
The man has been employed by the Manatee County school district since 1999 and has a clean personnel record, Nanney said. His primary job is "time-out" teacher, overseeing in-school suspension. His name is being withheld by the AP because he has not been charged.
Swafford, the part owner of an air conditioning company, said he came to the school to meet with officials about allegations made by his daughter and other female students about the assistant's inappropriate touching and conduct. When he saw that the man was not in the meeting, he asked his daughter to take him to the classroom.
"I wanted to know why the guy was in a classroom teaching after my daughter came forward," he said.
A verbal exchange became heated, and "I lost control," he said. He spent about 10 hours in jail and got out later Tuesday after posting bond.
The Tampa radio station that named him "Father of the Year" offered him and his family tickets for the Daytona 500 race.
"If some other parents would do this, maybe some of these pedophiles would crawl back under rocks where they belong," Swafford said.

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