The Norman Transcript

October 25, 2013

Teens testify against former professor

Andy Rieger and Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — A teen-age witness testified Friday that former OU professor Dwain Pellebon removed her clothes and his clothes and got on top of her on a bed and then put his arms on her arms.

She testified that Pellebon moved his body up and down and told her not to tell any one. She said she was afraid to tell anyone about the episode because she feared “something might happen. He might try to do something bad like harmful or threatening.”

The teen-ager, now 17, was one of two teens to testify for the prosecution Friday. She said the same thing happened on a second occasion but that she found “it was too weird and awkward” to tell her mother or friends.

The teen testified that on a third occasion Pellebon took her into a shower and touched her repeatedly in private areas.

On cross examination a Pellebon defense attorney questioned the teen’s ability to discern reality from her imagination.

Earlier Friday, another teen-age girl testified that Pellebon often hugged her for longer than normal, kissed her forehead and tried to talk to her about sex education while the two were alone in his bedroom.

“It was really creepy — not like a normal father... He was more personal to you,” the 15-year-old 10th grader testified. “He would hug you and wrap his hands around your lower back and hold you longer.”

The teen-ager was the first prosecution witness to testify on the fifth day of Pellebon’s trial on multiple felony sex crime charges involving children. The trial is expected to continue next week before District Judge Tracy Schumacher.

The witness, who rarely made eye contact with jurors or the defendant during her nearly 90 minutes of testimony, said she was in fourth or fifth grade when she began feeling uncomfortable around Pellebon who was friends with her family and a close network of Filipino families.

She said she once accompanied Pellebon to his bedroom while adults socialized nearby. Both were on the bed and “he just out of the blue started talking about sex and stuff,” she testified.

“He rubbed my stomach in a petting motion. It felt real uncomfortable and I felt really creeped out,” she said. “It was really creepy. It was not his job to tell me this. He was overstepping his boundaries.”

She said she didn’t tell her mother at the time because it was embarrassing and awkward. She didn’t tell Pellebon she was uncomfortable because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Upon cross examination by defense counsel David Smith, the teen-ager said Pellebon did not touch her in other areas and never showed her any sexual pictures or movies. She said she was relieved when her family no longer socialized with the Pellebon family.

The young witness’ mother also testified Friday. She said she eventually called the Department of Human Services in 2011 to report Pellebon’s alleged behavior with another child. The mother testified Pellebon showed inordinate attention to young girls, including her two daughters.

“It made me uncomfortable. He’s just too close. It’s uncomfortable for me as an adult,” the mother testified.

As the children got older, she testified, she could tell they were uncomfortable around Pellebon. She said Pellebon offered to counsel her daughter about school issues but she declined.

 The former OU professor of social work was charged in December of 2011. His trial has been delayed several times. Judge Schumacher cautioned the jury not to read about the case or discuss the trial which resumes Monday.