Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 13, 2014

Man accused of molestation free on $10,000 bond

TAHLEQUAH — A 58-year-old Tahlequah man accused of lewd molestation is free on an $10,000 bond.

Michael Lee Cowan was arrested by Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault last week after a 12-year-old girl provided a recording to school officials allegedly showing Cowan touching a 7-year-old girl inappropriately.

According to Chennault, the older girl used a portable Nintendo gaming system to record the video without Cowan’s knowledge on May 7. The girl had confided in her friends at school, and the friends urged the girl to make a recording and show it to school officials.

When school leaders saw the video on May 8, they contacted child-welfare investigators, Chennault said.

Chennault said he viewed the recording, and it appears to show Cowan holding a 7-year-old girl in his lap. Cowan then allegedly tried to touch the girl inappropriately. Chennault said Cowan appeared “surprised and nervous” when he noticed the 12-year-old girl watching him, and he stopped.

Chennault interviewed Cowan, and Cowan denied that he had ever inappropriately touched either of the girls. He also told investigators he had been investigated in Mayes County for similar allegations, but cleared of them.

Chennault said the two alleged victims were both interviewed by the Cherokee County Child Advocacy Center. A DHS investigator and Chennault watched the interview from a separate room.

The older girl told authorities she and her sister have been touched by Cowan for several years.

The younger girl told investigators Cowan would hug and kiss her and touch her legs while she was sitting on his lap. Chennault said the younger girl, during the forensic interview, would choose not to say Cowan’s name, but would instead point to his name, which had been written on a marker board.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

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