An Indiana man won’t serve time in prison after he pleaded guilty to molesting his young daughter who was diagnosed with cancer, court records show.
Jeremy Schwer, 41, faced several years in prison, but his attorney said the child’s mother wrote a letter asking the court not to put him behind bars because she needed him to help financially support their children. A judge on Tuesday sentenced him to 12 years of probation.
“The judge’s focus was on the best interest of the child in that because this is not a wealthy family, the child’s mother and the child and another child need the father working to help them with medical insurance and the cost of living,” said attorney John Campbell, who represented Schwer.
Schwer had been charged with felony child molesting after prosecutors claimed he fondled and inappropriately touched his 6-year-old daughter, less than two years after the young girl had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Once the young girl became sick, Schwer’s wife told prosecutors she and her husband alternated putting the child to bed and caring for her at night.
One night, the girl told her mother she touched “daddy’s peepeeluca,” a word the family uses to describe “private parts,” prosecutors said. The girl said it was a secret and her father told her not to tell anyone because if she did he would go to jail.
In an interview with officials, the now 7-year-old girl said her dad “has a thing like a cat tail, but it’s in the front.” She said she sits on the cat tail with her “peepeeluca," prosecutors claimed.
The girl’s mother told authorities she confronted Schwer about what her daughter said and he told her he was asleep when the girl touched it one time, adding that he “never hurt her.”
Schwer was charged in 2015 after his now-estranged wife called the Indiana Department of Child Services. He pleaded guilty to those charges Tuesday.
Schwer has been out of jail for the past year, living in his family’s home, the same home where the Indianapolis Star reports the Make-A-Wish Foundation had built his daughter a princess castle.
As part of his sentencing Tuesday, he was ordered to vacate the home and surrender it to his wife and children, according to court records.
He was also ordered to be on GPS monitoring for the first six years of his probation, register as a sex offender and continue treatment at a counseling center.