For Two Harbors, Minnesota and all associated with it, it’s time to Nut Up or Shut Up. Personal opinions by Sean Kelly. #JusticeForMarksDrive
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) The mayor of Two Harbors, Minnesota either sexually assaulted 5- and 6-year old children… or he didn’t.
IF HE DID IT & DENIES IT: In my humble opinion, he should not only be removed from office, he should be carried from office and pilloried in the town square until he repents to Jesus Christ Our Lord & Savior, admits to ALL he’s done (in his teens and all years hence), begs forgiveness from each victim and their families, and dedicates the rest of his life to atoning for and the preventing sexual violence against children.
But the purpose of this post is not to express our opinion as to the validity of these accusations. We are inviting Mayor Chris Swanson to publicly address what’s been an open secret in Silver Bay and Two Harbors, MN… posted on Facebook for 6 years. And we are asking Two Harbors MN, its residents and businesses what national reputation they are choosing from this day forward.
Hey Two Harbors: It’s Judgement Day!
City Council, local officials, local businesses (PureDriven, Garage Starts, Castle Danger Brewing, Other Swanson-involved & other businesses), churches, local media (Duluth News Tribune), citizens and voters need to decide if their reputations (and souls) and their town’s image are worth saving.
For every Two Harbors City Council member, every city official, every municipal employee, every Two Harbors resident, parent and voter, every friend, supporter, fellow churchgoer, pastor, business associate, customer or employee of any Chris Swanson-related venture…
It’s Judgement Day.
You each have a decision to make.
After this month, Two Harbors, MN (pop. 3,507) will no longer be known as the quaint little town with the picturesque lighthouse.
After June, 2022, it’s likely Two Harbors, MN will be long-remembered as either:
A) the town that allowed a wacky but well-intentioned mayor to be unfairly accused of horrific crimes he never committed, with a City Council that never conducted a serious, impartial investigation that showed Christopher Swanson to be the fine, upstanding Christian man he professed to be, or
B) a quaint town hiding a dark & terrible secret, a town of seemingly pious, church-going citizens who twice elected a sexual predator of 5-year old girls to represent them, a town that continued to support him as he tormented his victims well into their thirties with public, perhaps intentionally sadistic, displays of self-righteous fake Christianity.
Two Harbors is Harboring a Dirty Little Secret, Isn’t It?
With a population of less than 4,000, Two Harbors is a small, small town.
Its neighbor to the north, Silver Bay, is even smaller.
It’s inconceivable that a single City Council member hasn’t heard the allegations of their mayor’s past sexual violence, or doesn’t understand the significance of the #JusticeForMarksDrive online rallying cry.
Hell, I’m 1000 miles away in Pennsylvania and I knew of the allegations within two days of first hearing the name Two Harbors.
In fact, there are publicly viewable Facebook posts made before the mayor was elected 6 years ago – statements from alleged victims, their family members, friends and neighbors – alleging that teenage Chris Swanson and his older brother Marty lured neighborhood children in their house at 40 Nelson Drive, Silver Bay, MN and molested and raped them.
“Chris Swanson… raped and brutalized children…” – Facebook Post(s)
Back in 2016, one former Marks Drive resident wrote:
Of all of us kids who grew up on that block together, we all know this happened and most of us know that [redacted] was not the only victim. It seemed it was happening at the same time with other families, but no one knew at that time that they weren’t the only ones.
Other comments from 2016 include:
Growing up in Silver Bay, I remember this! I remember hearing about the devastation it caused to your family.
…I remember when this happened, I had young girls at the time also and it sickened me.
…I remember that clearly!
It was known by the Silver Bay police who investigated the crimes and those involved with the court hearings that took place when he Swanson was 16.
And, in recent years, its abundantly clear that nearly all the local media were aware of Swanson’s alleged crimes and alleged confessions, and about the fact that the Swanson family moved away from Silver Bay shortly after the court proceedings and court-required programs were completed.
And yet the media (especially the now-defunct Lake County News Chronicle) failed to inform the voters of Two Harbors about the allegations prior to his first mayoral election… and the media (especially the Duluth News Tribune) continues to withhold critical information from voters during a Re-sign or Recall Drive.
Dozens of online comments, some claiming to be first hand accounts, show that Two Harbors/Silver Bay’s secret has been widely available for any with the fortitude to read them.
Here are a few:
“Chris Swanson is someone who raped and brutalized children who were between 5 and 8 at the time, when he was … I had been in their house many times, as he lured kids into the house to buy candy… His victims were the young girls living in the houses next to and across from me.”
“Chris Swanson has a dark past in which he has preyed upon children…some have written off as hearsay or rumors. But no. It’s true… and happened on Marks Drive in Silver Bay. Perhaps all is forgiven now because he is a man of god. Well not in my book until some accountability is taken. Accountability that we deserve and need. I also was victimized by Chris Swanson at the age of 8… however I do not view myself as a victim but more as an advocate for accountability.”
“I know for a fact that Chris [Swanson] victimized several girls on our block in Silver Bay. I know because his brother Marty raped me at the age of 6. There’s nothing to hide anymore… I seek only peace for other victims. There has been no justice and nothing but more power given to this predator.”
While this writer cannot say with certainty (much less prove) whether these allegations are 100% true or 100% false, many in Silver Bay and Two Harbors can.
Especially Mayor Christopher Swanson. Mr. Mayor…?
“Which Side Are You On, Folks? Which Side Are You On?”
There are times when staying neutral or uninvolved is not an option.
For the people of Two Harbors and supporters of Chris Swanson, this is one of those times.
No one can claim that it’s not their issue, as the reputation of their town is being determined.
No one can say they don’t have enough information to decide, as there’s no excuse for not getting that information.
And no parent can claim it’s not their business, as protecting our children and being there for the abuse survivors in our community is everyone’s business.
And if the allegations are true, those who write it off as being ancient history or that he was a different person should remember:
The crimes may have been committed long ago, but the lies and abuse have continued to the present day…
by further traumatizing victims by becoming a local mayor…
by including his teenage candy business as part of his entrepreneurial origin story…
by standing up at a press conference and declaring that he’s never been found guilty of illegal conduct…
And if the house at the corner of Nelson and Marks Drive was a warm and friendly daycare and not a house of horrors that continues to haunt survivors’ dreams, then standing up for an innocent man wrongly accused should not be an option, either.
In the words of the banjo-wielding philosopher Tallahassee in the classic film (s) Zombieland: “It’s time to nut up or shut-up.”
And when it comes to the sexual assault of children, shutting up is not an option.
[When neutrality or silence is not an option, Pete Seeger Asks Which Side Are You On?]
In the End, Two Harbors, This Controversy is About YOU
It’s time for Two Harbors City Council members and other officials to cut the crap and tell America where you stand.
Are you allowing a known sex offender to continue to represent your city without demanding that he respond to these allegations?
What say you
- Miles Woodruff?
- Ben Redden?
- Cathy Erickson?
- Derrick Passe?
- Robin Glaser?
- Jackie Renwald?
Which is it?
Which side are you on?
Your silence is deafening.
And what of the employees and associates of Chris Swanson-associated ventures?
PureDriven? Garage Starts? What Say You?
What of the PureDriven employees who lied that Chris Swanson had been kicked out of the company when, in fact, he remained owner?
Do you, Jason Sunday and Joel Schultz, stand with and defend an innocent Chris Swanson?
Or do you believe the allegations but are fine with getting a paycheck from and lying for a sexual predator?
What say you
- Jason Sunday?*
- Joel M. Schultz?
- Jordan Seidel?
- Kristin Cpin?
- Angela Russeth?
* Jason Sunday: is blocking me on LinkedIn and refusing to address my questions the best way to “Build trust in an industry built on lies”?
Castle Danger Brewery: Remaining Silent is Dangerous, Too
At the risk of alienating what would likely be my favorite establishment in Two Harbors, Castle Danger Brewery (CDB) provides an excellent example of the danger in remaining silent.
He took credit for helping to pass the extremely important (really?) growler bill (signed into law by the Democratic Governor) in order to help CDB.
Castle Danger Brewery claims that it does not tolerate bullying. It dedicates an entire page of its website to its bold inclusive philosophy and invites the public to report any incidences of bullying by or of its employees, customers or associates:
We have a zero-tolerance standard for bullying or harassing… CDB encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Each of us plays an important role in maintaining an environment… of dignity and respect for all.
Castle Danger Brewery states “If you see something… Say something.”
Yet when a customer inquired about CDB’s stance on Mayor Swanson, the response was not so bold and righteous:
We cannot comment on anything that may have political affiliation as there may be serious business ramifications for us.
By no means do we approve of or have any tolerance for sexual assault.
It’s just that in this specific situation, and at this point in time, we are not ready to make any statement…
Castle Danger Brewery is either standing by silently while their public advocate, Mayor Swanson, is being unfairly harassed and bullied… Or they believe the allegations and only exercise their moral code when it’s in their financial best interest.
One wonders, how many growler fills does it take for Castle Danger Brewery stay silent regarding sexual assault?
Shouldn’t they have to add a disclaimer to their ethics statement that it’s just marketing puffery?
What say you:
What Duluth News Tribune’s Lawyers Aren’t Telling Them
Or being perceived as having no backbone or journalistic integrity.
Or suspected of intentionally burying #metoo stories of possible sexual predation for political or business reasons.
Or becoming known as the villainous newspaper that further traumatized a sexual assault victim and her family by gaining their trust, conducting agonizing interviews and subjecting them to a review process, making false promises and then refusing to publish unless certain impossible demands were met.
Why Newspapers Fail: Back in 2016, the Lake County News Chronicle interviewed alleged victims of Chris Swanson and had the means to inform voters.
Unlike great papers of the past which felt a responsibility to stand up for the truth, Lake County News Chronicle likely listened to its lawyers and refused to publish it. Lake County News Chronicle folded in 2020 after some 40+ years.
Rumor has it that the Duluth News Tribune has an 1837-word story researched and written by Jimmy Lovrien, but has refused to run it unless it receives a copy of private court records the family had stated, up-front, it doesn’t wish to (or can’t) disclose.
So rather than honor the trust of the alleged victim’s family, or meet their responsibility to the public, the Duluth News Tribune is sitting on this vital and important story.
Meanwhile, this professional and powerful news organization is getting scooped by two bloggers.
One of those bloggers is a thousand miles away in Amish country… pecking on a five-year old laptop with free WordPress software (but NOT in a basement).
I wonder if Duluth News Tribune is listening to the same attorneys that counseled the Lake County News Tribune into insolvency?
Did their attorney explain the near-impossible standard it takes for a public official to win a defamation suit against a newspaper?
Did their attorney explain that aggressive legal bullying of the type Swanson & Tupa are waging reeks of a desperate need to keep the truth private… and the private information Swanson would likely need to disclose during the Discovery process would be a strong deterrent to suing?
Could there be other reasons the Duluth News Tribune has for violating the trust of a suffering family and refusing to inform its readers?
What say you, Duluth News Tribune?
If you’re scared, send me your story… I’ll take the risk and publish it.
Two Harbors: It’s Time to Do Your Jobs
As far as I can see, there are only three groups in an around Two Harbors doing their jobs.
The first is the badass group of Marks Drive survivors and their supporters, sporting the hashtag #JusticeForMarksDrive.
This is a strong, resolute and committed sisterhood not to be trifled with.
The second is the Re-sign & Recall Group and its supporters who haven’t given up despite being bullied and sued for the crimes of participating in government, performing their civic duties and voicing their opinions.
The third group is a group of one: John Ramos, publisher of the Duluth Monitor. Ramos has stood up to bullies and their bogus lawsuit in order to discover and print the truth that the mainstream media hasn’t. (Kudos to his wife of 18 years who has stood by and supported his efforts despite the strain – which MY wife knows all too well.)
Two Harbors: Your Dateline Episode is Coming
Citizens of Two Harbors, your silence is dooming your town to a negative Netflix documentary (Think Waco) and/or Dateline NBC episode narrated by Keith Morrison using his creepiest voice.
You have one chance to either stand up for your unfairly targeted Mayor Swanson if you believe he is innocent…
And if you don’t, I’d suggest you start building the stocks in the town square.
Either way, Two Harbors, the spotlight is on you.
More on Chris Swanson:
WHAT DO YOU THINK? SHARE COMMENTS BELOW OR EMAIL THE AUTHOR at UnhappyFranchisee [at] Gmail [Dot] Com
All readers are invited to provide comments, corrections, clarifications and/or rebuttals. Companies or individuals discussed herein are invited to provide their points-of-view either in the comments below or by emailing ADMIN at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com.
If you wish your emailed comment to stay off the record or your name kept anonymous, please state that and your privacy will be protected.
These are my personal opinions and statements made by others. Any one could be incorrect – even mine. Do your own research – Make up your own mind.
PLEASE share the link to this post with interested parties via social media or other means. Thanks, Sean Kelly
We Support These Organizations & They Support Us
TAGS: Christopher Swanson, Chris Swanson, Mayor Chris Swanson, Two Harbors MN, Sexual Assault, Two Harbors Mayor, Two Harbors City Council, #JusticeforMarksDrive, PureDriven, PureDriven Marketing, Castle Danger Brewing, Garage Starts, Lou’s Fish House, Duluth News Tribune, Jimmy Lovrien, Jason Sunday, Joel Schultz, Brendan Tupa