Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Former PCSP deputy charged with possession of child porn

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A former Porter County Sheriff’s Police deputy has been charged with possession of child pornography, after the Indiana State Police said that a photo of a 17-year-old girl with whom he’d reportedly been intimate was found on his cell phone.

Roger Bowles, 56, of Hebron, was charged on Friday, Aug. 4. Possession of child pornography is a Level 6 felony punishable by a term of six to 30 months. Bowles was also charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a term of up to 60 days in jail.

Bowles, a 16-year veteran of the PCSP, retired on May 31, several weeks after a special prosecutor was named to oversee the case.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by ISP Det. Mike Bailey, on Feb. 3, 2017, he was assigned to investigate a report that Bowles had been in a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old niece of another PCSP deputy. The girl, when interviewed, was initially uncooperative but did confirm that she’d met Bowles at the 2015 Porter County Fair while the two were working in security and traffic control, Bailey stated in his affidavit. The girl and Bowles met again at the 2016 Porter County Fair, at which time they exchanged cell phone numbers and began communicating through text messages, Bailey stated.

At some point a “relationship developed between the two of them,” resulting in consensual “sexual activity and sexual intercourse,” Bailey stated. That activity was not illegal, Bailey noted in his affidavit, because in Indiana the age of consent is 16. In any case, Bailey determined that “both Bowles and the juvenile participated in their relationship in secret, without the knowledge of the juvenile’s parents or the knowledge of (Bowles’) professional acquaintances,” Bailey stated.

In the course of the investigation, however, Bowles’ cell phone was seized and, pursuant to a search warrant, a forensic examination of the device conducted. Found on the phone were “nude photographs” of the girl, including one taken on or about Dec. 8, 2016, Bailey stated. The girl “later confirmed that (Bowles) had taken this photograph of her. At the time of the photograph, (the girl) was 17 years of age, this being below the statutory age limit.”

The girl also advised that she spent the night at Bowles’ residence “multiple times” and that on these occasions Bowles “more than once” served her alcoholic beverages, which she consumed, Bailey stated. Further evidence of the girl’s consuming alcohol at Bowles’ residence was found in “texts from her to Bowles referring to her taking shots,” Bailey added.

Bowles, for his part, confirmed he knew the girl but when asked about the nature of their relationship, in an interview on Feb. 3, “he declined to answer further questions and asked for the opportunity to speak with legal counsel.”

The case is being prosecuted by Dave Thomas, currently general counsel for Saint Mary of the Woods College, at the specific request of Porter County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel, who in May told the Chesterton Tribune that he’d asked Thomas to oversee matters “because of the close working relationship my office has had with the officer over the years.”

Thomas has full authority to “handle the case as he sees fit, including charging decisions, if any, plea negotiations, and trial,” Gensel said at the time.

Thomas previously served 10 years as Indiana Inspector General (2005-15) and before that 10 years as prosecuting attorney in the Indiana 13th Judicial Circuit (1995-2004).

 

Posted 8/9/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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