Author.Amy Lavalley

The trial of a former Porter County Sheriff’s Department deputy charged with felony possession of child pornography will be moved to a surrounding county to ensure a fair trial, a judge ruled Monday.

Defense attorney John Vouga argued before Porter Superior Court Judge William Alexa that his client, Roger Bowles, could not get a fair trial in Porter County because of his 16-year career with the sheriff’s department and because of the focus in probable cause documents and the media on allegations that were not related to the actual charges against him.

Bowles, 56, of Hebron, was charged Aug. 5 with the felony pornography charge and a misdemeanor count of furnishing alcohol to a minor. The charges stem from his alleged consensual sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl he met while the two worked at the Porter County Fair. Bowles allegedly had nude photographs of the girl on his phone. Indiana law does not prohibit the sexual activity because the teen was 16 or older, according to documents in the case.

He has pleaded not guilty to both charges. The comments on online news accounts of the story as well as social media, Vouga said, contained some of the most vitriolic language he’s seen in his career.

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