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Former Canton City Schools officials sent to prison

By John Published: July 19, 2010

John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer

A former Canton City Schools administrator was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for molesting a Timken High School senior in 2008.

James Alan Irvin, 57, pleaded guilty last month in Stark County Common Pleas Court to gross sexual imposition, a felony.

Irvin originally was indicted for attempted sexual battery, also a felony.

Irvin also pleaded guilty to two related misdemeanors. A charge of corrupting another with drugs, a felony, was dismissed.

He was booked Monday into the Stark County jail after sentencing.

The victim, Nicholas Swonger, has said that Irvin tried to perform oral sex on him when Swonger was spending the night at Irvin's North Canton apartment the day after Christmas in 2008.

Swonger was 18 and in the middle of his senior year at Timken High School. He has said that Irvin had been a father figure to him and his family during his high school years, beginning when he was a freshman.

Swonger's mother, Michelle Swonger, said she was pleased with Stark Common Pleas Judge Taryn Heath's decision.

''I don't believe he's sorry a bit,'' Michelle Swonger said. ''He never apologized to my family.''

Irvin resigned as director of pupil services for Canton schools on March 15 and was arrested March 17 after an investigation by the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

His responsibilities for the district included the supervision of all nurses and counselors, approval of various enrollment issues and oversight of student records for graduates and nongraduates.

Irvin also was arrested on March 11 by Peninsula police after he threatened suicide. He pleaded no contest in Stow Municipal Court last month to improperly handling firearms, a misdemeanor.

John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or Read the education blog at
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