Meadville Tribune

February 21, 2014

Guilty plea in attempted child abduction at fair

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — A Cambridge Springs man who admitted in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas Thursday that he was too drunk to recognize his own child faces up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in connection with an attempted child abduction at the 2013 Crawford County Fair.

Barry R. Swift, 42, of 26484 Sherwood Drive, pleaded guilty before Judge John Spataro to two counts of disorderly conduct filed by West Mead Township Police Department for taking a 5-year-old child on the midway inside the Crawford County Fairgrounds on Aug. 23, 2013.

Fair security and West Mead Township Police were notified at approximately 6 p.m. Aug. 23 that a man wearing a Buffalo Bills shirt, tan hat and beard had approached an unidentified woman and her children, who were in a stroller.

Swift removed a 5-year-old girl from the stroller, but the girl’s mother quickly regained control of the child and Swift walked off, according to charges filed in the case. Police said a man matching the description, Swift, was observed by fair security a short time later and was detained for West Mead police.

Asked by Spataro what had taken place that night, Swift told the judge he had mistaken the girl for his own daughter, who is the same age.

“You didn’t recognize your own daughter?” Spataro asked.

Swift said he was intoxicated at the time of the incident. Swift said he is in treatment for his alcohol problem.

Swift was charged by West Mead police with one count of interference with custody of children, a third-degree felony; two counts of disorderly conduct, both third-degree misdemeanors; and two summary counts of harassment.

If Swift had gone to trial and been convicted on all charges, he faced a maximum of nine years and six months in jail and $20,600 in fines.

However, in a plea bargain with the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office, Swift agreed to plead guilty to the two disorderly conduct counts in exchange for all other charges being dropped.

Swift faces a sentence of up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines on each of the two counts of disorderly conduct when sentenced March 7 by Spataro.

Swift remains free on $10,000 bond.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at