M.E.'s Office Sends Out Cautionary Memo About Former Employees
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- New accusations are flying between the State Medical Examiner's Office and a former chief investigator who was recently charged with sexual battery involving co-workers.
Kevin Rowland, who worked at the M.E.'s office for 23 years, is scheduled to be back in court next month to answer to charges of sexual harassing other employees.
However on October 1, an internal memo was e-mailed to the entire staff at the M.E.'s office stating that Rowland may have attempted to contact persons employed in the office.
Attorney Scott Adams said he still can't believe an internal memo was sent out at the M.E.'s office regarding his client.
"I've been doing this for 22 years and I've never seen anything like that," Adams said. "I'm puzzled. I don't even really understand it."
The memo stated it is inappropriate for Rowland to contact current employees about the crimes he's accused of, and in light of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Rowland, employees have expressed concerns about safety.
"I was furious when I first read it because what it talks about is that some people are afraid. Afraid of what?" Adams said.
Adams said the memo violates his client's right to defend himself since Adams was the one who instructed Rowland to contact witnesses for statements. Adams said that's why Rowland sent a text message to an employee. However, the M.E.'s office feels that was inappropriate.
"The text basically said 'could you please have this person contact me' and this person was a witness in a multi-county grand jury, and she was very upset about it," said Cherokee Ballard, M.E.'s office spokesperson.
The Attorney General's office also said it thought the text message was a bad idea. In fact, the agency considers any such contacts as possible attempts to tamper with or intimidate witnesses.
"They're contacting him. That's their business, on their time. If they're friends with him, that's fine, but when this employ came to me and shared concerns and was very upset by this, our Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Collie Trant decided this was appropriate," Ballard said.
NEWS 9 legal analyst Irven Box said there is nothing unconstitutional about the memo.
The memo also accused another former employee of trying to contact people inside the agency. Rob Deaton was fired this summer after making comments about a gun while at work.
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