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November 2, 2013

Pellebon found not guilty

NORMAN — A Cleveland County jury found former OU Professor Dwain Pellebon not guilty on all nine counts in District Court — three counts of child sex abuse and six counts of lewd or indecent proposals to children — on Friday evening. In 2011, Pellebon, 56, was charged with felony chid sexual abuse. The eight-man, four-woman jury took four hours to deliberate and come to a final verdict after two weeks of testimony.

Despite Judge Tracy Schumacher’s instructions for courtroom order, Pellebon’s family and friends could not contain themselves and were already tense and quietly crying before the verdict was announced. Once the verdict was read, Pellebon’s family and friends reacted with emotional, full-body sobs and more crying.

Pellebon’s attorneys, David Smith and Jacquelyn Ford, said they had faith in the system all along.

“We waited two years for this. We had faith in our client and in the system. We’re glad for the families,” Smith said.

Pellebon said God was with him the whole time. And as he walked away from the defendant’s chair, he was surrounded and embraced by family and friends. In a circle, Pellebon grasped hands with those around him and said a prayer praising God for seeing him through.

“I’m not shocked. I trusted in God,” Pellebon said.

The prosecution, attorneys Lori Puckett and Susan Caswell, had no comment after the verdict was announced.

Although Pellebon is a free man, he said his life would never be the same.

“I’m vindicated but my life is changed forever,” Pellebon said.

In lengthy closing arguments Friday afternoon, defense attorney David Smith reminded jurors that many of the allegations were rumor and innuendo.

“Inappropriate behavior is not illegal. Creepy is not a crime,” Smith said.

He said Pellebon’s alleged victim didn’t provide the kind of “sensory details” needed to corroborate her story.

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