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October 24, 2013

Witnesses appear nervous; some have trouble recalling previous testimony

NORMAN — Prosecutors continued calling witnesses to the stand Wednesday morning during the third day of former OU professor of social work Dwain Pellebon’s jury trial in Cleveland County District Court.

Pellebon, 56, was charged in 2011 with sexual abuse. Original charges were amended during a June 22, 2012, preliminary hearing, and the state now pursues three counts of child sex abuse and six counts of lewd or indecent proposals to children.

The last witness of the day gave the lengthiest testimony, and with quite a bit of uncertainty. The female teenage witness was questioned by the prosecution and defense about two different incidents she witnessed after staying the night at the Pellebon home.

A friend of Pellebon’s stepdaughter, the witness testified that she woke one morning after a sleepover in the stepdaughter’s room to see Pellebon stroking her friend’s arm who was asleep on a futon.

The witness nervously swiveled in her chair and was repeatedly asked to speak louder as she answered questions. When describing what part of her friend’s body she saw Pellebon stroking, she gave different descriptions to the prosecution and defense and throughout her testimony said she could not remember.

The witness told defense attorney Jacquelyn Ford that she was angry for being asked the same questions repeatedly and did not want to be in the courtroom.

Finally, the witness said she felt differently about Pellebon than she did when the incident occurred and that now she loved him as a friend.

The father of Tuesday’s 10-year-old female witness took the stand first and answered questions from both prosecuting and defense attorneys, telling them how his family’s relationship with the Pellebon family developed and which of Pellebon’s actions made him uncomfortable, such as asking to be called his daughter’s uncle and coming over to his home uninvited.

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