Knox Commissioner Jeff Ownby faces indecency exposure charge

Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby faces judge on indecency charge

Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby awaits to address the judge during his court hearing. Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby awaits to address the judge during his court hearing.

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby was given judicial diversion contingent upon final approval Friday after pleading no contest to a charge of public indecency.

Ownby, 45, was arrested last May at Sharps Ridge Memorial Park during a police surveillance operation.

Officers say they saw Ownby having oral sex with another man at the park.

The other man, John F. McCracken, 53, of Powell, was also arrested. McCracken did not accept a plea deal and will go to trial Sept. 16.

Ownby was originally charged with indecent exposure, but prosecutors agreed to amend the charge to public indecency.

Defense attorney Greg Isaacs said Ownby is "extraordinarily remorseful" and has attended therapy sessions.

Ownby told Judge Bill Brewer he ran for county commission because he, "wanted to give back to my community."

The county commissioner said being arrested has been hard on his family and that his employment with Comcast was terminated as a result of his actions. He is not currently employed, except for his position on the county commission.

"It's been a rough time," Ownby said.

Ownby said he took responsibility for his actions.

During his sentencing, Judge Brewer ordered Ownby to write a letter of apology describing his crime and submit it to the court.

In it, Ownby writes: "I am very remorseful for my actions and will do everything I can to make this one lapse of judgment up to the citizens of this County and especially to my wife and family."

Ownby also apologizes to fellow Knox County commissioners and his former employer at Comcast.

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