Elementary principal in Polk County, Florda, accused of raping, molesting girl

The principal of Sikes Elementary School in Lakeland has been accused of raping and molesting an 11-year-old girl.

The charges against Corey Lynn Swindler, 38, do not involve a student at the school. Swindler is not related to the girl but has had access to her for about 10 years through a domestic relationship, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

The girl’s aunt contacted deputies Wednesday after the child told her that Swindler had been touching her inappropriately since she was in kindergarten, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities said they interviewed the girl and a witness to one of the molestations.

Swindler was arrested this morning on one count of sexual battery on a child younger than 12 and six counts of lewd molestation on a child younger than 12.

He admitted touching the girl inappropriately over her clothing on several occasions, the sheriff’s office said.

Swindler has been placed on administrative leave, said Ron Ciranna, the Polk County School District‘s assistant superintendent of human resource services.

“It’s not a school district issue,” he said. “It occurred outside the scope of what we deal with. It’s a police concern.”

Swindler has been with the school district for 11 years, including three years as Sikes’s principal. His performance reviews show he met or exceeded expectations in all categories. One supervisor referred to him as a great team member.

He completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina and his master’s degree at Nova Southeastern University, according to Sikes’s Web site.

Swindler’s first court appearance is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cari Vaughn, whose child is a kindergartener at the school, said she was saddened by the arrest but wasn’t shocked by it.

“You can’t trust anybody these days,” she said. “Not even your principal.”

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