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Local storm chaser charged with child molestation

Gavel and judge
Gavel and judge

An Oklahoma storm chaser and photographer has been charged with inappropriately touching a 15-year-old boy.

Lawrence Robert McEwen, 28, of Noble, is facing three counts of lewd molestation or indecent proposal to a child and one count of performing lewd acts in the presence of a minor.

A Cleveland County judge has issued a warrant for his arrest with a $100,000 bond.

McEwen is known as a storm chaser for KOCO 5 News and a sports photographer for the Oklahoma Sooners. KOCO General Manager Brent Hensley said McEwen worked for the station on a freelance basis, and he will "no longer be storm chasing for us."

Sooner Sports Properties confirmed it will no longer hire McEwen as a freelance photographer. Spokeswoman Jennifer Duncan said McEwen was never an employee at SSP or the University of Oklahoma.

The teenager’s mother filed a report with Blanchard police on Feb. 26, stating McEwen had been touching her son inappropriately over the previous four to five months.

The Noble Police Department began investigating the case after learning the encounters reportedly took place at McEwen’s home inside Noble city limits.

The boy disclosed in a forensic interview that McEwen touched him twice for a “hernia check,” which he said made him uncomfortable, according to a court affidavit. He also said McEwen made him use a sexual device, police reported. McEwan filmed the boy using the device and told him it was a project for a company, officers said.

“(The victim) stated that he never knew the name of the company and never received any money from the defendant,” according to the affidavit.

Noble police obtained two letters from McEwen addressed to the boy and his mother. Officers reported the defendant admitted in the letters to committing some of the sexual acts against the victim.

A friend of McEwen, storm chaser Richard Rowe, turned in an audio recording to police in which the defendant confessed to conducting the sexual device project with the boy, according to the affidavit. Rowe also reported that McEwen told him about checking the victim for a hernia, police said.

Nuria Martinez-Keel

Nuria Martinez-Keel joined The Oklahoman in 2019. She found a home at the newspaper while interning in summer 2016 and 2017. Nuria returned to The Oklahoman for a third time after working a year and a half at the Sedalia Democrat in Sedalia,... Read more ›