In December 2011, University of Oklahoma social work professor Dwain Pellebon was arrested on child sex abuse complaints, including two counts of rape and one count of lewd acts with a minor. Now, nearly two years after his arrest, Pellebon has been found not guilty of sex offenses against minors.The defendant resigned from his position with the University of Oklahoma and was released from a DHS contract in which he trained social workers following his arrest. He was removed from his home and separated from his wife and children because of a court order. He lost his career, he was taken from his family, and his reputation was tarnished as a result of the allegations against him. However, Pellebon says he feels vindicated by the jury's verdict. He told reporters, "[M]y life has changed forever as a result of what I've been put through ... what my family's been put through," he said. "But the jury did their duty."Pellebon's arrest came after a girl told investigators that she witnessed the man fondle another girl during a sleepover at his house. Other girls testified to sexual abuse at a preliminary hearing, but during his trial testified only to things that made them uncomfortable, but were not sexually abusive. Some alleged victims even sat among the defendant's supporters at trial.Last week, this blog described some of the challenges prosecutors faced during Pellebon's trial, including witnesses who seemed to have forgotten any prior testimony which would have painted the former professor in a negative light and witnesses who were hostile to the prosecution.Pellebon described himself as an affectionate man who loved children, but said that he was innocent of sexually abusing any child. His defense attorney said that the social worker and professor was vilified based on flimsy evidence. The attorney accused prosecutors of filing numerous charges against his client with the hope that something would stick. This "kitchen sink" or "shotgun" approach to filing charges is a common prosecution tactic which can often encourage a defendant to take a plea deal or can make a defendant seem guilty before a jury because he or she is accused of so many offenses.When a person is accused of impropriety with children, people are quick to assume the worst and the district attorney is quick to file charges. Having experienced legal counsel and representation on your side is the best way to defend against criminal charges and to prevent lifetime sex offender status after being wrongfully accused of a crime. Consult an attorney to find out what to do if you have been accused of a sex offense. View site for more details.
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