Carbon couple charged in two-county molestation case

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Carbon couple has been arrested on allegations of crimes against two children stemming from investigations by law enforcement agencies in two counties.

On Tuesday, officers from Clay and Parke county sheriff’s departments served warrants at a rural Carbon residence owned by Darwin Laswell, 55, and his wife Barbara Laswell, 35.

D. Laswell

Darwin was taken into custody by the Clay County Sheriff’s Department and booked into the Clay County Justice Center on two felony charges stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct with two children in 2016 in Clay County. He was also charged with two lessor felony charges for allegations of misconduct with the same children in 2014.

Meanwhile, Barbara Laswell, 35, was taken into custody by the Parke County Sheriff’s Department on a warrant issued by the Parke County Circuit Court that same day. She was incarcerated in Parke County on two counts of level D felony charges of neglect of dependent — dependent put in situation endangering dependent’s life/health that allegedly occurred in Parke County.

B. Laswell

According to court records her bond was initially set at $10,000 with no 10 percent allowed and her initial court appearance is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.

When the bond was later reduced to allow for 10 percent Barbara bonded out to await further court proceedings.

The Parke County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating to determine whether charges will be filed against Darwin Laswell in that court, as well.

On Wednesday, Darwin Laswell appeared in Clay Superior Court by video conference to be charged with a level one felony count of child molesting and lessor felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor and two more child molesting charges.

A not guilty plea was entered on Darwin Laswell’s behalf and Terre Haute attorney Matthew Effner was appointed as public defender. A pre-trial conference was scheduled on March 27 and a jury trial was set for June 12, both at 1:30 p.m.

A no contact order was issued and Darwin Laswell was informed in open court to stay away from both victims if he was able to post the $50,000 cash-only bond. If Darwin Laswell was able to bond out the court also ordered he be placed on home detention with a GPS monitoring system to await further court proceedings.

Clay County Prosecutor Robert Pell said further details of the investigation and case against Darwin Laswell will not be made public to protect the integrity of the prosecution and future jury selection.

Conviction of a level one felony carries a punishment of between 20 and 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000

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