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Friday, May 10, 2013

Bad: Politician gets caught getting blown by a man in a public park. Badder: Judge orders man to write an explicit letter detailing the acts he is guilty of and ask for forgiveness from his family AND THE PUBLIC

Judge orders former commissioner to write apology note for public indecency charge

Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby pleaded no contest Friday morning to the charge of public indecency. Now he will have to write a public and descriptive letter of apology in order to have the conviction wiped from his record.
Ownby was arrested in May 2012 after police observed him engaging in oral sex with another man at Sharp's Ridge Park in North Knoxville.
Ownby's lawyer, Greg Isaacs, asked Judge William Brewer from Blount County to issue a sentence of judicial diversion, meaning the conviction could be wiped from Ownby's permanent record.  Special appointed prosecuting attorney William Brownlow Marsh of Cocke County opposed the diversion sentence.
Ultimately, Judge Brewer decided to grant Ownby diversion because it allows conditions to be placed on the sentence.  Brewer said denying diversion would mean Ownby could simply pay a $500 fine and leave with the conviction on his record.
Brewer said Ownby must write a letter of apology that explicitly describes what took place at Sharp's Ridge in the type of verbiage the prosecution would use rather than the "carefully crafted" and vague terms the defense has used to this point.  Until now, Ownby has not made any specific statements about the incident other than through his attorney's comments that the commissioner was "remorseful" for his "actions."
Brewer said the letter must apologize to Ownby's wife, family, friends, colleagues, and "most importantly, the constituents and citizens of Knox County."  The letter will be distributed to local media and also submitted as part of the official minutes of the next Knox County Commission meeting.
The letter is due to Judge Brewer by noon on Friday.
While on the stand Friday, Ownby discussed the consequences of sexual act at Sharp's Ridge.  He said he lost his job at Comcast after the arrest.  Ownby is still unemployed other than part-time work for a real estate company.  Ownby stated he has been going to counseling.
Brewer also requires Ownby to continue counseling, pay court costs, maintain his search for gainful employment, and must remain 100 yards away from Sharp's Ridge Park.

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