Sex offenders likely to feel impact of new law

CLEVELAND – A sexual predator who sells fire alarm systems to schools and businesses is likely to feel the impact of a new sex offender law taking effect, Tom Meyer, The Investigator, exclusively reported.

Richard Swansinger, of Willoughby, sells fire alarm systems. He's tried to peddle the safety equipment to local high schools among other businesses. Swansinger is also a registered sexual predator in Lake County.

Action News broke that bit of news to a 19-year-old secretary who shares office space with him. Tanya Spano said that she didn't know about Swansinger's past, but like the rest of her co-workers, she said that it's none of her business.

His co-workers said that they feel no different about him now, knowing he's a sex offender, than they did before.

In a separate case, Chris Fakult fired Michael Gelhausen after he found out that his ice cream truck driver was a registered sex offender. Fakult said that he didn't want someone with that past to be selling ice cream to kids.

Gelhausen didn't tell his boss about his sex offender status. Under a new law, however, law enforcement will be required to notify employers and anyone within 1,000 feet of where the sex offender works.

Authorities are still figuring out how that will impact a guy like Swansinger and the people he comes in contact with on the job.

"I do know we have gone over those scenarios before, and that's a disastrous one -- where people move around," Lt. Doug Burkhart, of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, said. "They might not even stay in this county. They might work in four or five counties."

Will children be better protected? What kind of enforcement problems will there be? The answers will begin to unfold when the new sex offender bill is signed into law.

Action News left several messages for Swansinger, but they were never returned.