A man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for molesting a female relative.


     A man was sentenced to life in prison Friday for molesting a female relative.
     Raymond C. Swint will serve nearly 13 years for attempted aggravated indecent liberties with a child, plus life in prison for aggravated indecent liberties. The two sentences will run concurrently, meaning Swint will serve a single life sentence and will become eligible for parole after 25 years.
     Earlier this year, a Ford County jury convicted Swint of fondling a female relative sometime between Oct. 1, 2007, and April 29, 2010. The jury acquitted him on a second count of aggravated indecent liberties.
     Swint's attorney, Steve Cott, said Friday that District Judge Leigh Hood should set aside the original verdict and order a new trial. But Hood denied the request for a new trial on the grounds that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict.
     Concerning the possible sentence, Cott argued that Swint should receive a lighter sentence for several reasons, including the fact that he had maintained his innocence throughout the case while the victim's story had changed.
     Cott also said Jessica's Law, which prescribes 25-year sentences for many first-time sex offenders who prey on children, is unconstitutional because it punishes some crimes more severely than others.
     But Assistant Ford County Attorney Jacob Fishman said the court should not consider Swint's claim of innocence.
     "That shows he has taken no responsibility for his crime, nor has he shown any remorse," Fishman said.
     Fishman also said the Legislature was free to decide that some crimes deserved harsher penalties.
     After hearing arguments on both sides, Hood said he could not find that the sentencing plan spelled out in Jessica's Law constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Sentencing
     Before Hood announced the sentence, he asked Swint if he wished to make a statement to the court.
     Swint continued to insist on his innocence, saying, "I didn't do nothing, you know?"
     But the victim's mother said that Swint's actions had torn her family apart.
     "You betrayed my daughter in such a way that will never be forgotten," the woman said. "This isn't about revenge. This is about justice. I don't want you to rot in prison for the rest of your life, but I do want justice for my daughter."

     Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or email him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.