LAWTON, Okla._The Lawton pastor accused of performing lewd acts in front of a teenager at church was found not guilty Tuesday afternoon.
The verdict marks the end of a long wait for Bobby Burrell who has been under investigation since October of 2012 for the accusations. His accuser claimed Burrell took him to his church, showed him porn, and then began to touch himself in front of him.
After the verdict came back it was jubilation for the friends and family members of Burrell, who from the get go, stood by his side saying this isn't something he would do. Burrell admitted to masturbating in the church, but said it was never in front of his accuser. He said his accuser, instead, walked in on him when he was doing the act in the church's bathroom. His attorney said morally he made a mistake, but now he is innocent.
"The jury vindicated him, and the jury indicated he did not do anything wrong. He's innocent, and he is a free man, and that is it," said his attorney, Jason Lowe.
Lowe said the verdict of not guilty all came down to the law and not what is morally wrong or right. "Masturbation is not a crime. He never masturbated in front of the young man, it's not a crime. Pornography is not a crime and I think the jury realized and followed the law."
In the trial things got heated between Lowe and Detective Nancy Lombardo, of the Lawton Police Department, when Lowe cross examined her about the accuser's interview with police. The defense mentioned throughout the trial that the accuser was laughing during his interview saying he wasn't taking it seriously. Lombardo said she has interviewed hundreds of sex victims, many being juveniles and their demeanor in an interview is often strange due to the embarrassment of it and that laughter is common.
Ultimately it came down to the defense's main witness, the accuser's best friend at the Sequoyah Home. He said the accuser would tell him everything, but never said anything about the alleged incident. The witness also said he tried to watch porn on Burrell's phone when he let him use it but Burrell caught him and took the phone away saying that he shouldn't do that.
The witness also said the accuser and another kid made up the allegations and tried to tell them it was wrong to do so. In the end, it appears that may have been what was needed to convince the jury Burrell is not guilty.