An Elizabethtown man, who previously admitted to sexual abuse of a child, is back in the Hardin County Detention Center on similar charges.

Joseph William Sweat, 38, was arrested Thursday morning at the Hardin County Justice Center on arrest warrants issued Wednesday, which charge him with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a child younger than 12. The charges are Class C felonies punishable by five to 10 years in prison, if convicted.

The complaints were granted based on investigations by De­tec­tive Andrea Haire of the Eliza­bethtown Police De­part­ment.

Court documents claim Sweat had sexual contact with two different minor children on multiple occasions, touching them under their clothing. He is accused of showing the children pornography on his phone or a television, exposing and pleasuring himself in their presence.

At the time of the allegations, the children ranged from age 7 to 12. The warrants claim Sweat told both children “not to tell anyone because this was their secret” or to remain silent because “he didn’t want to get in trouble.”

The children first confided in family members after encounters with Sweat in February, according to the warrant.

By policy, The News-Enterprise does not identify victims of alleged child abuse. Court documents identify them only by initials.

In the previous case, Sweat was arrested Jan. 24, 2018, and faced three counts of first-degree abuse of a child younger than 12. He accepted a plea agreement on a Class A misdemeanor of second-degree sexual abuse.

Parents of Sweat’s vic­tim said the child required therapy and her personality changed because of the abusive encounters. To avoid tension related to testifying in court, the family agreed to terms of the reduced sentence.

Sweat was placed on two years probation, ordered to register as a 20-year sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment. The state registry maintained by Kentucky State Police identifies Sweat, including his photograph, lists his home address on Shep­herdsville Road and the charge he admitted to in the 2018 plea agreement.

Sweat is being held in the jail on a $25,000 cash bond. He is scheduled to appear today in Hardin District Court.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.

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