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Mothers in former OU professor's trial prove difficult as witnesses

Two women who testified Thursday proved difficult for prosecutors in the child sex abuse trial of former University of Oklahoma professor Dwain Pellebon.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: October 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm •  Published: October 25, 2013
/articleid/3897199/1/pictures/2248390">Photo - Dwain Pellebon, Universiity of Oklahoma professor, arrives at the Cleveland County Courthouse on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 in Norman, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Dwain Pellebon, Universiity of Oklahoma professor, arrives at the Cleveland County Courthouse on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

The mother said Pellebon and her daughter were very close and that the defendant was like a “second father” to the girl. She said her daughter would often confide in Pellebon and tell him “secrets.”

She said when rumors began circulating about Pellebon and her daughter, she decided the girl should probably stay away from the defendant's home “for the meantime.” She denied the decision had anything to do with Pellebon stroking her daughter's hair.

“We don't want people to make talk ... against my daughter for being so close to (Pellebon),” the woman said.

The same mother said she never saw Pellebon do anything inappropriate and seemed reluctant to recall testimony she gave on prior occasions that cast a negative light on the defendant. She frequently said she couldn't remember details or couldn't understand the question she was being asked.

Social circle

Jurors also learned about a group of Filipino women who live in the Norman and Oklahoma City areas. Witnesses described two groups of women with roots in the Philippines.

According to witness testimony, the “mother hen” of one of the social groups has long had it out for Pellebon and his wife, though it was never made clear as to why.

One of the women who testified Thursday also revealed that speaking about sex with children is a touchy subject in Filipino culture.

“We don't discuss that,” she said.

More witnesses continued Thursday to express discomfort with prosecutors and how they have conducted themselves during the investigation of Pellebon.

The mother of the girl whose hair was stroked by Pellebon said she and her husband were frustrated with prosecutors because they would seek to separate the children from their parents for questioning.

Prosecutors said they like to separate children from their parents during questioning so the parents don't interfere with the process. In the end, the parents were allowed to accompany their children during questioning, testimony revealed.

Cleveland County District Judge Tracy Schumacher said the trial is expected to last until next week.

Pellebon, who once helped train DHS workers, has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest. has disabled the comments for this article.
by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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