Willmar man faces six charges for allegedly molesting two girls

A Willmar man has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of molesting two girls in 2019. The sexual abuse was discovered when the girls spent the day with their grandmother and allegedly told her about it.

Joshua Peter Balkan Swift.jpg

WILLMAR — Joshua Peter Balkan Swift, 39, of Willmar, pleaded not guilty this week to six charges of criminal sexual conduct involving two young girls in 2019.

Swift pleaded not guilty Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court to six felonies: two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct — penetration and four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for contact with a minor.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 3.

Swift was arrested last fall and an amended complaint including more charges was filed this month.

Bail was set at $70,000 for unconditional release or $15,000 or $1,500 cash for release with conditions. Swift posted bond and is not in custody. The conditions of his release include having no contact with the alleged victims and staying away from their home and school.


A woman reported to the Willmar Police Department in May 2019 that Swift had touched her young daughters inappropriately, according to court records.

In two interviews with a police officer and a Kandiyohi County child protection specialist, the girls, ages 6 and 9, described incidents of being touched by Swift. The second interview came later, when the girls told their mother they hadn’t told the full story because they were embarrassed.

According to the criminal complaint, the 6-year-old said Swift had touched her under her clothes and underwear more than once. Sometimes, the 9-year-old was in the room, too. The 9-year-old said Swift had started touching her when she was 7.

The touching stopped when the girls told their grandmother, who told their mother, according to the court file.

Both girls said during the first interview that Swift had touched them on the chest and between their legs. The older girl said Swift sometimes rubbed his genitals on her backside while he was in her bedroom.

In a second interview, the younger girl said Swift had pulled her pants and underwear down and touched her while he thought she was sleeping. Afterward, he told her that her brother had done something weird.

The older girl said Swift had rubbed his genitals on her more extensively than she had first described.

The girls’ mother told authorities she confronted Swift about touching the girls. He reported that he first said he couldn’t have done that. He also said he didn’t remember doing it and must have blacked out.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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