A northeast Illinois man who stood accused of using a needle and thread to sew his son's buttocks shut has accepted a plea agreement and will not spend any time in prison.
Randy Swopes, 52, of Waukegan, entered an Alford plea Friday to aggravated battery. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to possibly win a conviction. Swopes was sentenced to 24 months of probation and 250 hours of community service.
Swopes' son reportedly suffers from Crohn's Disease. According to WebMD, the condition is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes, "inflammation or ulceration of the digestive tract."
In January 2008, the disease caused Swopes' son, then 14, to develop a fistula. One Crohn's information website describes a fistula as, "an abnormal tunnel connecting two body cavities that are not usually connected, such as the rectum and the vagina. A fistula can also be a body cavity to the skin such as the rectum to the outside of the body."
Fistulas are typically treated with medication and sometimes surgery.
In the case of Swopes' son, the fistula was on the boy's buttocks. Rather than take the teen to the doctor for treatment, Swope opted to take care of the problem himself and sewed the fistula shut using a needle and thread, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Danielle Pascucci told the Lake County News-Sun.
The home surgery did not work as intended and the wound became infected. The boy was hospitalized for about a month while he recovered.
The aggravated battery charge typically carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, but as a result of the Alford plea, Swopes was sentenced to 24 months of probation and 250 hours of community service.
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