Former Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby was arrested in 2012, along with his 'friend' John McCracken, for public indecency. Local police “observed them engaging in oral sex” at Sharp’s Ridge Park in Knoxville.
Now, nearly a year after Ownby’s arrest, the former elected official has pled “no contest” in court. In order to have the conviction wiped from his record, however, the Judge William Brewer has issued some interesting conditions for Ownby.
The former commissioner must, as mandated by the court, write a letter of apology to his “wife, family, friends, colleagues, and ‘most importantly, the constituents and citizens of Knox County,’" and describe in detail exactly what was happening at the time of his arrest explains WBIR. “The letter,” they say, “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 the judge this afternoon.
Brewer also requires that Ownby to “continue counseling, pay court costs, maintain his search for gainful employment, and must remain 100 yards away from Sharp's Ridge Park,” says WBIR.
In addition to his letter, Ownby must serve six months of supervised probation and to continue to seek employment,” the Knox News reports.
Ownby explained to the court that he has suffered consequences due to his actions, including losing his job at Comcast. He also told the judge that he ran for county commission because he "wanted to give back to [his] community," says Wate.com.
Ownby’s story has long been, says Knox News, that his actions were “a one-time indiscretion, resulting from his own sexual abuse as a child.” Until now, says WBIR, Ownby hasn’t made any sort of “specific [statement] about the incident other than through his attorney's comments that the commissioner was ‘remorseful’ for his actions."
All of which makes sense, because on his website it says that he is guided "by strong religious beliefs and "wants to bring back a conservative fiscal approach and make certain the taxpayers’ money is wisely spent."