COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. -- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office arrested an Arkansas registered sex offender on charges of sexual battery. Anthony Swanson, 42, is accused of traveling to Florida and having sex with a 17-year-old girl.
Police were notified Swanson may be having a sexual relationship with the teen after her father called the police, according to a news release from Clay County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Sergeant Ed Seifert.
Deputies learned Swanson was staying at the Piney Woods Lodge, located on U.S. 90 West, Seifert said.
As detectives neared the hotel they saw a man matching Swanson's description walking down the sidewalk. When detectives went to question Swanson about him possibly having a sexual relationship with the underage girl they, he ran a short distance before police tackled him in a Publix parking lot.
When detectives interviewed Swanson, Seifert said, he admitted he had traveled to Lake City from Arkansas to meet the 17-year-old girl. He allegedly met her through a chat line and was aware of her age. Seifert said Swanson admitted to deputies that he did have sexual contact with the girl while he was in Columbia County.
Police learned Anthony Swanson is a convicted sexual offender in the state of Arkansas for a previous rape and sexual battery charge. In the state of Arkansas, he is listed as a Level 3 Offender. Arkansas defines Level 3 Offenders as follows: Typically offenders in this category have a history of repeat sexual offending, and/or strong antisocial, violent or predatory personality characteristics. These are individuals whose offense and criminal history require notification throughout the community.
Deputies arrested Anthony Swanson and booked him into the Columbia County Detention Facility. He faces charges of sexual battery on a person under the age of 17 by a person over the age of 24, use of allow a child to engage in sex, child abuse and resisting arrest without violence. He does not have a bond.
First Coast News