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Man accused of sexually abusing mentally disabled adult

Crime Watch

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Swade Tullis | Jefferson County Jail

EDITOR’S NOTE: All references to the gender of the victim have been removed in order to reduce the chances of identification.

RIGBY — A Rigby man accused of sexually abusing a mentally disabled adult has been charged with two felonies.

The Rigby Police Department began investigating 21-year-old Swade James Tullis after the victim’s father contacted police, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com. Tullis is charged with sexually abusing a vulnerable adult and felony forcible penetration by use of a foreign object where the victim is unable to consent.

The victim, who functions between the ages of 3 to 6-years-old, returned home later than expected Feb. 27. The victim informed a parent they had been at Tullis’ apartment. The parent said the victim was not supposed to visit Tullis as there “may have been some sort of sexual contact between them on or about Aug. of 2016 that was handled by the bishop of his church,” according to court documents.

The parent went to Tullis’ apartment and told investigators Tullis came to the door wearing only underwear. The parent confronted Tullis about the alleged activity. Tullis replied, “I’m sorry, (the victim) wanted it,” the affidavit says.

During a forensic interview the next day, the victim described the alleged abuse using “childlike” answers. Tullis reportedly invited the victim over on the phone and forced the victim to engage in sexual activities that resulted in intense pain and injuries.

Police obtained a search warrant at Tullis’ apartment and found numerous sex toys, girls underwear, male enhancement pills and electronic items capable of viewing pornography.

In an interview with investigators, Tullis arrived with both of his parents. His mother immediately said that her son functions as a 6 to 11-year-old child.

“I thought that statement sounded strange to me because I have had previous contact with Swade in passing and as a customer at (Swade’s employer), he has always commented in an appropriate manner and has always given me correct change and seems to have no problem taking orders for food at his work,” the officer wrote.

When asked about the allegations, Tullis said he did not want to talk and wished for a lawyer, according to court documents.

Police learned the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office was also investigating Tullis for allegedly posing as a 16-year-old girl on Twitter while asking others for sexual favors. He also reportedly offered to sell a sexually explicit video of a 14-year-old girl, according to court documents. Tullis has not been charged in Bonneville County.

Police arrested Tullis on March 30. At his initial court appearance on April 1, Magistrate Judge Kent Gauchay ordered Tullis to undergo a competency evaluation.

Gauchay released him on pretrial supervision and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 8 at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

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