A Battle Creek man could spend the rest of his life in prison. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that’s 34-year-old Thomas J. Swarmes was arraigned on four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct Wednesday in the 2008 rape of an 8-year-old girl. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum 25 years to life in prison.

Swarmes was identified after evidence collected from the young girl was submitted for DNA testing in 2016. Following the test, investigators interviewed him and he told them he was staying with family when he woke up the young girl, who's developmentally disabled. He admitted that he was having sex with her during that encounter.

 

Swarmes was charged as part of the continuing Calhoun County Sexual Assault Kit investigations which were initiated across Michigan by Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is also the current Republican candidate for Governor. It came after more than 1,800 untested rape kits were discovered in several counties. Calhoun County has about 300 of those kits. Some of them date back to the 1980s when better technology was not available.