FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — New information about a Daphne man facing rape charges involving a child. 47-year-old Eric Thomas Sweeting was in court for the first time Wednesday afternoon since turning himself on rape and sex abuse of a child charges.
The investigation into the rape charges began a couple of weeks ago and according to Sweeting’s defense attorney, there is no evidence to back up the claims.
Appearing in a Fairhope courtroom through a video conferencing system, Judge William Scully set bond at 130 thousand dollars for Eric Sweeting on charges of having sexual intercourse with a child less than 6 years old and having sexual contact with a child under the age of 12.
Two charges, one victim according to prosecutors.
We’re told Sweeting coached youth softball teams in cities from Foley to Spanish Fort. Parents who knew him told News 5 the charges are rattling the softball community.
The investigation began a couple of weeks ago leading to Sweeting turning himself into authorities Tuesday. Brian Dasinger is representing Sweeting. “My client is not guilty of these offenses. We believe a child was coerced into making false allegations about my client. We believe there is no physical evidence of these charges whatsoever. There hasn’t been any provided to us nor do we believe there ever will be.”
Sweeting is an Army and Coast Guard veteran, with no prior criminal history according to Dasinger. He called a 130 thousand dollar bond, excessive.
If Sweeting is able to make bond there are conditions to his release. He will have to have a GPS monitor, house arrest, no contact with the victim and no contact with anyone under the age of 18.