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Jury Finds Former M.E. Chief Investigator Not Guilty of Sexual Battery

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Kevin Rowland was found not guilty for a sexual battery charge against him. Kevin Rowland was found not guilty for a sexual battery charge against him.

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Oklahoma County District Court jury found former chief investigator for the state Medical Examiner's Office not guilty of sexual battery.

Prosecution and defense attorneys presented closing arguments to a 12-member jury Wednesday in the sexual battery case against Kevin Rowland. The panel deliberated about 45 minutes Wednesday morning before returning a verdict of not guilty for Rowland.

"The past year has been tough, you know, it's been absolutely terrible. I've lost my dad, he died," Rowland said. "My family's been put though this, but, you know, I'll tell you today I've been at peace because I said from day one, if I've committed a crime I'd have been nervous, but I didn't commit a crime. And I'm grateful God's got plans for me, what they are I don't know yet, but I know God's going to use me to help other people because of what I've gone though."

Prosecutors alleged that Rowland committed sexual battery when he grabbed a male co-worker's breast and made a sexual remark. His defense attorney, Scott Adams, said it was horseplay and not a criminal act.

During closing arguments, Adams said he wanted jurors to send a message that the trial was a waste of the state's resources and that he was embarrassed that the case even went to court.

Assistant Attorney General Mykel Fry said during closing arguments that the case is serious and urged jurors to hold Rowland accountable for his actions. Fry also said that Rowland was acting on a neurotic power trip and has thus far gotten away with his abusive behavior.

"I hope the jury came away with an understanding of why the case had to be brought," said Assistant Attorney General Tom Bates. "Those e-mails show the culture…I'm offended by them. I'm offended by them as a…for many reasons. I'm offended by them as a tax payer of the state of Oklahoma that that was going on at a state agency on taxpayer time. But, who were they sent to? Kevin Rowland. He was the supervisor; he did nothing to stop it. He created that culture and I think that we did get that point across."

The victim testified Tuesday he was extremely embarrassed and offended when Rowland grabbed and squeezed his breast at a Mexican restaurant in south Oklahoma City in December 2007.

Jurors also heard from a female co-worker who claimed Rowland kissed her and grabbed her buttocks and breasts. Jurors said they reminded themselves in deliberations her case was not the one on trial.

"There were a couple of people. I think they wanted to punish him for his character. They were thinking he did stuff he shouldn't have did," Latonya Seals, juror.

Prosecutors said they are disappointed by the verdict, but feel if nothing else, the public now knows the sexual tone and culture of the Medical Examiner's office. They also say there was evidence the judge didn't allow in that could have made a difference.

"There were numerous people numerous people who had issues with Mr. Rowland and that's why the grand jury returned the indictment they did and that's we pursued it," Bates said.

Rowland did not testify in his own defense.

Of the 12 jurors, only three granted interviews to the media, but all three said they thought the case was a waste of taxpayer money.

Adams said there are plans to seek litigation against the state of Oklahoma.

Rowland still faces a rape charge in Tulsa County. The AG's office said it plans to move ahead with that trial which is scheduled for November.

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