December 31, 2011

University of Oklahoma professor resigns amid sex abuse charges

12-31-2011 Oklahoma:

A University of Oklahoma professor accused of sex crimes involving teenage girls has resigned from the university, school officials say.

Dwain Pellebon resigned Tuesday, OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said.

The social work professor had been on administrative leave without pay since Friday.

Pellebon was arrested Dec. 9 after a McClain County child welfare worker reported that a teenage girl had seen the professor molest a 13-year-old girl.

The state Department of Human Services worker also reported that Pellebon had raped a mentally disabled 15-year-old girl at least twice, court records show.

Pellebon, 54, has denied any inappropriate behavior with the girls. Attempts to reach the professor for comment have not been successful.

Bishop said she couldn't release the suspect's letter of resignation because it's a personnel matter, but did say that OU officials had requested that Pellebon formally quit his job.

‘Red flags were there,' student says

Social work graduate student Mary Beth Henschel, who first met Dwain Pellebon two years ago as an undergraduate, said the professor did a number of things over the past 24 months “that should've been bright red flags, at least looking back,” including a shirtless photo of him holding a sword, wearing a snake bracelet and standing in front of a leopard-print sheet.

She also said he had a collage in his office covered with scantily clad little girls.

An ‘affectionate, sensual man'

Pellebon has described himself to investigators as an “affectionate, sensual man who liked to hug, kiss, cuddle and stroke young girls that he felt close to,” according to court documents.

The professor, free on $75,000 bail, told police during an interview at his house that he'd viewed child pornography “one time” but that he'd never downloaded any.

In 2001, Pellebon was investigated by DHS for allegations involving a young girl but the alleged victim — the daughter of a former Norman police officer — failed to give investigators a statement and no charges were filed, documents show. ..Source.. by ANDREW KNITTLE

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