Athens, GA – A couple in Georgia have been accused of raping their landlord’s 10-year-old autistic son at knife-point.
Raising an autistic child on your own can be hard enough, but Nancy was raising two – ages 9 and 10. She had no friends or family in the area, so when the youngest boy had a “severe meltdown” she asked her two tenants if they could watch the older boy while she stayed with his brother at the hospital.
Nancy met the couple, Melissa Nicole Jones and Matthew Wilson Freethy-Swimm, after she’d placed an ad on Craigslist looking for someone to rent an efficiency apartment she’d created at her condo. Before moving to Athens, the couple had been living out of their van and provided documentation that showed clean criminal histories.
“This was the one and only time I ever left any of my children alone with them,” Nancy said. “This was an emergency and there was no one else available I could turn to.” She added that the entire time she was at the hospital, she remained in constant contact with the couple.
“I was on phone with them every 30 minutes, asking if I had to send my partner to pick (my son) up, but they were like, ‘No, he’s fine, he’s fine,’ ” Nancy said. “If I wasn’t calling I was texting them if I was in an area of the hospital where I couldn’t use the phone.”
After her younger son’s episode calmed down, she returned home later that night and nothing seemed wrong. However, in the days that followed, her older son started showing signs of distress. First with bed-wetting, then with the boy attempting to kick Freethy-Swimm’s ass. A few weeks after the alleged rape, the boy bolted out the door and confronted Freethy-Swimm.
“He said to Matt, ‘You forced me to have sex with your wife,’” according to Nancy. The boy was so worked up that Nancy and her partner had to physically restrain the boy – which is a feat in of itself because autistic people have the strength of 10 men.
When Nancy told Freethy-Swimm that he needed to get out of the house, he finally showed his true colors. “He threw racial slurs at me and my girlfriend, said he was going to send the KKK and burn crosses on my yard,” Nancy said.
Her son then told her that the night they watched him, Freethy-Swimm held a knife to his throat while Jones had sex with him. Nancy did not go to police immediately, deciding to take him to a therapist to ensure he was telling the truth. Some may have an issue with that decision, but considering the boy’s autism, I can understand it.
Later, after the boy was interviewed by someone who specialized in interviewing children with autism, police felt he was telling the truth and charged Freethy-Swimm and Jones both with felony statutory rape and child molestation. Freethy-Swimm was also charged with aggravated assault and the woman with sexual battery.
“The boy knew what was going on, and we believe that the evidence corroborates what he said happened,” said Lt. Mark Magnuson, commanding officer of the Athens-Clarke police Sex Crimes Unit. It was also reported that Jones had bragged about “taking the virginity of a minor.”
The couple were arrested on Sept. 14 after a patrol officer spotted their van in a Walmart parking lot. They are being held at the Clarke County Jail without bail. Turns out that despite the documentation they presented to Nancy, Freethy-Swimm was wanted in Massachusetts where he was accused of assault with a deadly weapon.Tags: Child Molestation, Craigslist, Crime, Georgia, knife, Matthew Wilson Freethy-Swimm, Melissa Nicole Jones, mental illness, Rape