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Former M.E. Investigator Accused of Twisting Male Co-Worker's Nipple

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Kevin Rowland is the former chief investigator for the State Medical Examiner's Office. Kevin Rowland is the former chief investigator for the State Medical Examiner's Office.
Jury selection started around 11 a.m. in Kevin Rowland's sexual battery trial, where he is accused of grabbing a man's nipple. Jury selection started around 11 a.m. in Kevin Rowland's sexual battery trial, where he is accused of grabbing a man's nipple.

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The trial of the former chief investigator at the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office began Monday. Kevin Rowland faces a trial on one count of sexual battery.

More than 40 prospective jurors were escorted Monday into Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis' courtroom as the trial for 44-year-old Kevin Rowland began. Late Monday afternoon, 12 jurors were selected along with one alternate, making up a six man, seven woman jury.

Kevin Rowland is accused of inappropriately grabbing a male co-worker's nipple and twisting it while they were at a restaurant in 2007.

Since day one, Rowland has insisted he's innocent, but prosecutors said Rowland's conduct was "lewd and lascivious."

Rowland's attorney, Scott Adams, has said his actions were just horseplay that did not rise to the level of criminal conduct.

"I feel very confident that the right thing is going to happen and Mr. Rowland will be acquitted in short order," Adams said.

In her opening statement, Miychel Fry, an Assistant Attorney General for the case, told the jury they may not walk out thinking this was the crime of the century and while this may not be a big deal to some, "big or small, it is a crime."

Fry walked the jury through the events and said the alleged victim came to Oklahoma City fearing he may lose his job and joked he may have to give Rowland oral sex to keep his job.

The alleged victim, Rowland and other M.E. employees went out to eat at the Chilenos on the south side of the city when the incident happened.

Fry said the restaurant was chosen because Rowland liked the breast-size of the waitresses. At the restaurant, Fry said Rowland reached over the alleged victim, said "You've got some nice tits too" and then he twisted the victim's nipple.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Scott Adams told the jury that they are here for a "titty twister" in front of other people in a public restaurant and for that the prosecution wants to put Rowland behind bars.

Adams said although the prosecution said it may not be the crime of the century, to Rowland it is a huge deal and they want a swift verdict so he can get back to his life.

Adams also warned the jury they may hear some very crude humor from the M. E.'s Office, but that is how they deal with the nature of their work. And as far as the talk at the restaurant, it was guy talk and not illegal.

Bob Horn, an OSBI agent and lead investigator on the M.E.'s Office investigation in February 2009, was the first witness. Horn testified the alleged victim told him about the nipple twisting incident a few days before he testified in front of a grand jury in June '09.

During cross-examination, Adams got Horn to admit he did not write up a report until after the preliminary hearing in November 2009. Horn also said he never interviewed M.E. employees or restaurant employees about the incident.

Testimony resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The alleged victim is expected to testify.

If convicted, Rowland faces up to five years in prison.

Last month, a Tulsa County judge dismissed three charges of sexual battery against Rowland but ordered him to stand trial on one count of rape.

More On
- M.E. Investigator Ordered to Stand Trial on Rape Charge; 3 Other Charges Dismissed
- Former Oklahoma M.E. Chief Investigator Indicted on Sexual Battery Counts
- Chief Medical Examiner Discusses Efforts to Change Agency
- Possible Tainted Evidence from ME's Office Concerns Public Defenders
- Sealed Indictments to Be Opened
- Grand Jury Rebukes Medical Examiner's Office 
- Read the Grand Jury's Full Report (PDF) 
- Oklahoma ME's Office Loses Accreditation
- OSBI Investigates Medical Examiner's Office

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