An arrest for sexual battery against a 74-year-old Crothersville man was reduced to a charge of battery in Jackson Superior Court I last week.
Melvin Ray Owen, who was a protester of the Lions Den a sexually oriented business at Uniontown, was arrested Nov. 2 by Crothersville Police after a teenage girl accused him of touching her breast several times while the two rode together in a truck on Nov. 1. The girl’s 12-year-old sister also was in the truck at the time and not involved in the incident, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by Crothersville Police Officer Daryl Hickman.
According to that affidavit, the incident occurred as Owen drove the girls home from property he owns in the North Vernon area. The girls had been helping their father clean that property, and the teen told police she rode with Owen because he said he had to stop and feed some horses he owned on the way home.
The girl told police after caring for the horses, the three stopped to eat at a restaurant and stopped at a grocery store before heading for home in the Crothersville area.
At that time, she was riding by the passenger side door, but the girl said she later switched places with her sister and asked Owen if she could drive the truck.
Owen later told police the girl had been asking him to let her drive, and he allowed the girl to steer the truck as they got close to Crothersville. Owen told police he had to reach under or around her to shift gears several times. He admitted to police that he did touch her a few times on the breast while not changing gears, according to the court document.
Police were called to the girls’ residence on Sunday, Nov. 2, where Owen admitted to the girl’s father that he had touched the teenager several times and that he was sorry for what he had done.
He he told police that he did not have a reason why the incident had occurred.
The police originally sought sexual battery charges, a Class D felony, against Owen, but the charges were lowered to battery, a Class B misdemeanor, by the prosecutor’s office as the evidence presented by the incident did not meet the statutory requirement for filing a sexual battery charge.
According to IC 35-42-4-8 in order for a charge of sexual battery to be justified a person, seeking to arouse or satisfy one’s sexual desires touches another person when that person is compelled to submit by force or threat or if the other person is mentally deficient and unable to give consent.
Since there was no evidence of force or threat, a misdemeanor battery charge was filed, officlas said.
An initial hearing for Owen has been scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 8 a.m. in Jackson Superior Court I in Seymour.