Former Oklahoma M.E. Chief Investigator Accused of Groping Man
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The former chief investigator for the state medical examiner's office was charged with sexual battery of a male co-worker today in Oklahoma County, one day after charges of groping two female co-workers were filed against him in Tulsa.
The indictment against Kevin Rowland was unsealed Friday morning in Oklahoma County District Court.
The indictment accuses Rowland of touching a male co-worker's private parts without consent and making sexually suggestive comments from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, 2007.
The indictment was handed up by a multicounty grand jury earlier this week. The grand jury's investigation into the medical examiner's office revealed Rowland was given unchecked authority over the office's staff and accused him of sexually harassing his co-workers.
"The grand jury heard from numerous witnesses who corroborated the fact that there is conduct carried out by Mr. Rowland that was abusive, oppressive, and rose to the level of criminal conduct in that he touched many people inappropriately for sexual pleasure," said Assistant Attorney General Joel-Lyn McCormick.
Rowland did not appear in court Friday and has turned himself in at the Oklahoma County jail. His bail was set at $2,000 and his arraignment was scheduled for July 28.
Rowland's attorney Scott Adams said his client is innocent.
"We are dealing with him slapping a guy on the ass. I want you to take a look at this man, this is an innocent man who's being tortured right now," Adams said. "What if he slapped me on the ass right now, are we going to put him in prison are you kidding me, is that what this is all about? It shows you it's a total witch hunt, a total political hack job."
McCormick said the charges are serious and the result of several complaints and months of investigations.
"When we're looking at that type of conduct being carried out against other individuals who are serving the citizens of the state of Oklahoma we certainly can't tolerate it," McCormick said.
On Thursday, a five-page indictment unsealed in Tulsa County claims Rowland made several sexual advances to his female co-workers between 2006 and 2008 at the medical examiner's Tulsa office.
Attorney Scott Adams said Thursday the women are lying and those charges are politically motivated as well.
"It's total retaliation. He's a whistleblower. He's been complaining about this Tulsa office for years and years and this is what he gets paid back for 23 years of service to the State of Oklahoma. It's disgusting and he will be acquitted," Adams said.
M.E. spokesperson Cherokee Ballard said Timothy Dwyer has bee named as the new, permanent M.E. chief investigator. Dwyer was an investigator with the ME's office and has been there since 2002.
More on News9.com
- Oklahoma M.E.'s Offices Locked Down
- 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