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Man placed on probation after disabled adult reported sex abuse

Crime Watch

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Swade Tullis | Jefferson County Jail

RIGBY — A Rigby man will spend a decade on probation for abusing a mentally disabled adult.

Swade James Tullis, 21, received the sentence Monday after previously pleading guilty to abuse, exploitation or neglect of a vulnerable adult. District Judge Stevan Thompson gave Tullis an underlying two to 10-year prison sentence that Tullis could be ordered to serve if he is not successful on probation.

The admission of guilt was part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors amended the abuse charge from felony sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult. Prosecutors also dismissed a felony charge of forcible penetration using a foreign object where the victim is unable to consent.

As part of Tullis’ probation, he must live with his parents or in approved housing recommended by a treatment provider. As he is not convicted of a sex crime, Tullis will not have to register as a sex offender.

The victim, who functions between the ages of 3 to 6 years old, was reportedly at Tullis’ home. This concerned the victim’s parents since he was not supposed to visit Tullis as there “may have been some sort of sexual contact between them on or about August 2016 that was handled by the bishop of his church,” according to court documents.

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A parent of the victim 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, girl’s 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.

During the investigation, police learned the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office was also investigating Tullis. Deputies said Tullis allegedly posed 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. He was never charged in Bonneville County.

Thompson suspended Tullis’ $750 fine; however, he will have to pay restitution and other court cost associated with the case.