While much of the nation is focused on the Penn State University sex abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, one of Oklahoma's top universities is also dealing with the indignity of child sex abuse allegations.
University of Oklahoma associate professor Dwain Pellebon, 54, has been arrested on two complaints of rape and one complaint of lewd acts with a minor in Oklahoma. Pellebon was booked into Cleveland County Jail on Friday and released on bail. He has not been charged with any criminal offense, but according to Norman police Captain Tom Easley, the professor is the subject of an ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, he has been placed on paid administrative leave by the University of Oklahoma, where he is an associate professor at the OU School of Social Work. According to OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop, Pellebon's status could change to unpaid administrative leave, depending on the details of the investigation.
Prior to being placed on administrative leave, Pellebon was on family and medical leave. Details of Pellebon's alleged conduct have not been released. It is important to remember, especially in sex abuse cases, that an accusation of child sexual abuse is not an indication of guilt. One may be accused, arrested, and even charged based on any number of false allegations or complaints.
Oklahoma lewd acts defense attorneys work diligently to protect the rights of the accused throughout the criminal justice process, from investigation through trial and post-conviction appeals if necessary. It is the constitutional right of every American to be held innocent unless proven guilty, to receive a fair trial, and to face his or her accusers. In the Jerry Sandusky case, the accused and his sex crime defense attorney abruptly waived the right to confront the accusers at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Originally, Sandusky and his attorney Joe Amendola said they would not waive the hearing, at which Sandusky's accusers were set to testify. However, Sandusky, Amendola, and another attorney, Karl Rominger, arrived at the courthouse the morning of the scheduled hearing, went into judge's chambers, and waived the hearing.
After some curious moves by the defense in the Sandusky case, including a questionable media interview that seemed to jeopardize the defense, criminal defense lawyers in Oklahoma and around the nation are keeping a close eye on the developments in the Penn State sex abuse scandal and trial of Jerry Sandusky.
The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman just south of Oklahoma City.