The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

October 30, 2013

3 witnesses say they consider former professor a close friend

NORMAN — Three witnesses brought forth by defense lawyers testified Tuesday in the ongoing trial for former OU professor Dwain Pellebon, 56, who is charged with child sexual abuse.

District Judge Tracy Schumacher said since the witnesses lived out-of-state, they agreed to call them to testify before all of the state’s witnesses testified. Their testimonies occurred partway through the lengthy cross examination of the lead investigator on Pellebon’s case, Norman Police Det. David Freudiger.

All of the defense’s witnesses were adult females who talked to the jury panel about their relationship with Pellebon as a child and as adults. All three came into contact with him on a military base in Las Vegas, where Pellebon was stationed for several years while serving in the United States Air Force.

The first defense witness, now a Senior Master Sgt. in the Air Force that attorneys called “Barbie,” told jurors she met Pellebon in 1981 when she was around 9 years old.

She said Pellebon was volunteering and was helping on the football field for youth activities on the base; she was a cheerleader for the youth football team her brother played on.

Barbie said members of the Air Force are expected to give back to the community and that is what Pellebon was doing. She said he also remembers him often volunteering as a disc jockey or chaperoning at youth dances she attended.

All of her memories of Pellebon appeared to be positive, and she credited him as someone who guided her and was like a father figure to her and others. There was nothing creepy or uncomfortable about Pellebon’s relationship with her at any point in time, she testified.

“He took care of us,” she said. “Dwain has been kind of a foundational pillar.”

She said he was a person who guided her and others in the right direction, teaching her personally that she was worthy and she was valuable.

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