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Former Principal Lowery releases statement about investigation

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The attorney of former Lebanon High School Principal Kevin Lowery has released a statement saying that Lowery would not face criminal charges following an investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation leveled against him by a student.

A press release was sent out by Lowery’s attorney Dee Wampler of Springfield on Thursday, asserting that “no one found evidence of wrongdoing” throughout multiple investigations and that the claims that he had touched a high school student’s butt as he passed by were found to be “unsubstantiated.” The release also states that the special prosecutor assigned to the case, the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, would not be filing charges.

“No one found evidence of wrongdoing, including the Division of Social Services, the Lebanon School District and the appointed special prosecutor. The Missouri Division of Social Services thoroughly investigated the matter and found the allegation to be ‘unsubstantiated,’” the release states. “…We appreciate (the special prosecutor’s) decision to conclude the matter once and for all. As a result, no charges will be filed against Mr. Lowry in this matter.”

The Record reached out to the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, but did not hear back by press time.

The Lebanon Police Department launched an investigation into the alleged inappropriate touching on Feb. 8 after receiving a report from the Missouri Department of Social Services. The DSS investigation was prompted by a hotline call, according to an LPD report.

At the time the investigation was started, Lowery was placed on administrative leave, the report states.

The victim had claimed that she was near the vending machines in the commons area in front of Boswell Auditorium when Lowery walked by her and “swiped” his hand against her butt. That night the victim had allegedly told a high school staff member, but he did not report it because he thought that the teen believed that the touching had been an accident, according to an LPD report.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the LPD forwarded its investigation to the Laclede County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for possible fourth-degree assault charges. The investigation was then given to the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, which was to act as a special prosecutor in the case.

According to Wampler’s press release, about 15 students and staff members were interviewed by investigators from different agencies.

“Not one single person, including the girls standing with her, witnessed anything that substantiate the female’s allegation. Of all who were interviewed, no one saw or heard anything of a suspicious nature and nothing was found on any of the school’s security cameras. Furthermore, all who were interviewed denied having any concerns with Mr. Lowery,” the release states.

In March, the Lebanon R-3 School Board voted to make Dr. Kati O’Quinn the interim principal of Lebanon High School while the investigation was ongoing. Later that month, Lowery announced his retirement from the district. Earlier this month, O’Quinn was officially named principal of the school.

In the recent press release, Lowery says that despite “no evidence of wrongdoing,” he decided to retire from public education. Lowery had been in the field for 34 years. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 13 years as principal at Lebanon High School. I will be forever grateful to the faculty, staff, students, administrators, school board members, parents and patrons who have supported me throughout my tenure at Lebanon High School,” Lowery says in the press release. “In fact, the past 13 years have been the most rewarding and fulfilling of my career. I will not allow accusations or scurrilous attacks on social media to detract from the fond memories I have of Jacket Nation. My family and I are ready to put this matter behind us and move forward.”

Lowery ended his statement by wishing O’Quinn and her administrative team “the very best as she begins a new era of leadership” at LHS.

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