The Law Blog of Oklahoma

Police Chief Charged with Lewd Acts in Mayes County

Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2014

Because no one is above the law, no one is above suspicion in a criminal case--even law enforcement. Sometimes, those charged with the duty to protect and serve the public become those charged with crimes for not only failing to protect, but also for causing harm. A police chief in Mayes County, Oklahoma, finds himself on the wrong side of the law after being accused of molesting two girls.

Spavinaw Police Chief Clarence Gregory, Sr., 75, was arrested Thursday and taken to the Pryor jail, which has an isolation cell, for safety reasons. He was charged Friday with two counts of lewd molestation for allegedly touching two young girls inappropriately. Gregory was released on $100,000 bond with the condition that the defendant "absolutely [has] no contact with the alleged victims . . . or the family."

The investigation began approximately two weeks ago after the Mayes County Sheriff's Department received a tip that the police chief had been molesting two girls for the past several years.  The sheriff turned the investigation over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

After a second interview with Gregory, OSBI investigators said they had enough evidence of probable cause to arrest the police chief. Allegedly, Gregory told agents that he was only "trying to instruct [the girls] on what to not let boys do to them."

The girls' relationship to Gregory has not been identified, but Spavinaw residents say that, in addition to being the town's police chief, he has also served as a school board member, a Sunday school teacher, and a coach.

Of course, accusations alone do not mean the alleged incidents actually occurred, and just because there is enough "probable cause" to criminally charge someone does not mean he or she is guilty. As always, defendants in criminal cases are to be considered innocent unless proven guilty.

An accusation of lewd acts with a child under 16 is a devastating criminal charge, regardless of one's chosen profession. However, those charged with the protection of children and those to whom children are entrusted on a regular basis often suffer irreparable professional damage as a result of such charges. A criminal investigation alone may prompt a person's suspension or termination from employment. Finding an experienced criminal defense lawyer is necessary for preserving one's rights and protecting one's personal and professional liberties.

Lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child under 16 (21 O.S. § 1123) is a Level 3 sex offense that carries lifetime sex offender registration and a minimum sentence of 3 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years if the victim is aged 12 to 15. If the victim is younger than 12, however, the crime is punishable by 25 years to life. Learn more.

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