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Owens receives 10-year sentence for sexual abuse charges

By Bryan Marshall

(Editor’s Note: This story does contain explicit language.)Former Grant County High School band director David Owens will serve 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a former student, under a plea agreement.
For pleading guilty to two counts of sexual abuse and one count of tampering with a witness, the agreement recommends Owens also pay a $3,000 fine and have his teaching certificate revoked.
The agreement also states that the 10-year prison sentence will run concurrently with 10-year and five-year sentences Owens was to receive for additional criminal counts pending in Kenton and Boone counties, respectively.
A Kenton County grand jury indicted Owens on Dec. 5 with one charge each of third-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse and third-degree sodomy.
The charges stemmed from an alleged inappropriate relationship Owens had with a student at Beechwood High School.
Owens’ wife, former Grant County Middle School band director, JoAnn Owens, was also indicted for two counts of tampering with a witness.
Under a plea agreement, JoAnn Owens will participate in a pretrial diversion program for three years in lieu of a three-year prison sentence.
Through the program, she is unable to teach in any school and is prohibited to use alcohol or drugs.
Both Owens and his wife are not allowed to have any contact with the victims in the cases.
The investigation into the Grant County allegations was initiated by a post on a social network site by the victim, who is now 18.
Grant County Schools notified the Grant County Sheriff’s Office Sept. 11, 2013, about an inappropriate behavior complaint after news of the victim’s complaint spread.
Within 24 hours, Owens resigned, in lieu of termination, and a full report was filed by the school with the sheriff’s office, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Educational Professional Standards Board.
Before the end of the school day on Sept. 12, Owens was interviewed and later arrested.
Owens admitted to Det. Frank Merritt of the Grant County Sheriff’s Office to having an inappropriate relationship in 2011 with a former student at GCHS when the girl was 16 years old.
Owens subjected the student to inappropriate sexual contact on three separate incidents — two at Grant County High School and one in Boone County.
Owens said the relationship ended with the student when his wife found out about it in May 2011.
Dave Owens told a detective. “JoAnn proceeded to text (the student) calling her a bitch and whore.”
JoAnn set up a meeting with her husband and the student at Grant County Middle School to make sure the student did not tell anyone, according to court documents.
“Mr. Owens admitted that both he and JoAnn asked (the student) not to say anything,” according to court documents. “Mr. Owens said (the student) was not threatened or promised anything. Mr. Owens said the purpose of the meeting was to ask (the student) not to say anything due to the horrible repercussions to his wife, his children and he also wanted to apologize to (the student) and his wife and that it was his fault.”
JoAnn Owens also admitted to the detective that she asked the student not to say anything because it would ruin her family and her and her husband would lose their jobs.
In the fall of 2011, Grant County Deputy Sheriff Lee Jacobs received an anonymous call from a female stating that Owens was having sex with one of his students at Grant County High School.
Jacobs interviewed Owens, who denied the allegation.
Shortly thereafter, JoAnn Owens, during a band performance, approached the student her husband had a relationship with and called her names, and said “You better not be that caller who reported my husband,” according to court documents.
The student told the detective that, as a student, she was afraid to tell her parents, school authorities or law enforcement about the criminal activity involving her and Owens and his wife.
Owens, who had been director of the GCHS Marching Band since 2009, was band director at Beechwood High School in Ft. Mitchell prior to coming to GCHS.
During the Grant County investigation against Owens, a family member of a second alleged victim called the Grant County Sheriff’s Office to report a former Beechwood student also had a sexual relationship with Owens.
The second victim, who is now 23 and lives out of the state, was then interviewed by police and disclosed that in 2004 when she was a 14-year-old freshman at Beechwood, the victim had a four-year sexual relationship with Owens.
JoAnn Owens became aware of the inappropriate relationship in the fall of 2004, according to court documents.
In response to an e-mail the student sent her husband, JoAnn Owens replied, “There is a thing called ‘the law.’ It says that students may not have conversation, e-mails, letters or relationships outside the classroom. I wanted to let you know that no matter what you are going through, you probably should not have conversations with Mr. Owens, like you have been having. It isn’t healthy for you and it puts him at risk.”
JoAnn Owens sent another lengthy e-mail from her Grant County Schools e-mail account to the Beechwood student in 2010.
“I relive that day I found out, over and over each day in my mind… feeling every emotion I felt,” the e-mail states. “True agony is the way to describe it. I kept telling myself, literally, ‘I’m living someone’s else’s nightmare’… repeating it over and over… ‘This isn’t happening to me.’”
Owens is set to be sentenced March 5.