Attorney: DCS made false statements about foster kids in Comm. Ownby's home

6:58 PM, May 31, 2012   |    comments
Jeff Ownby
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The attorney for a Knox County Commissioner accused of indecent exposure says his client has no intention of resigning. 

Greg Isaacs also disputes a report by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services that foster children were removed from Jeff Ownby's home because of his arrest.

On May 24, 2012 Ownby was arrested on Sharps Ridge in Knox County.  According to the warrant, Ownby "was observed with another male engaging in oral sex with one another."

DCS officials told 10News that they removed three foster children from the Ownby's home on May 25, 2012 and suspended future placements at the home, pending the resolution of the current situation.

In a letter Thursday, Isaacs said, "The statement by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services that three foster children had been removed from the Ownby home on Friday, May 25, 2012, due to Commissioner Ownby's arrest is false and inaccurate. Two foster children left the Ownby home on the morning of Thursday, May 24, 2012 to return to their biological parents as a result of the conclusion of the school. The children's return to their biological parents had been previously scheduled to take place on May 24, 2012 which was prior to the arrest of Commissioner Ownby in the evening hours of May 24, 2012."

Isaacs also said in the statement that an 18-year-old remains at the Ownby residence and was not removed as a result of Commissioner Ownby's arrest. He calls the statements by DCS "false, reckless and made with a complete disregard for the truth."

The letter says that the Ownbys received a letter from the Florence Crittenton Agency on May 30, 2012 that although future foster placements had been suspended at their home, they remained in "good standing".

10News spoke with a DCS representative Molly Sudderth Thursday evening.  She said their records show that two foster children were removed from the Ownby home on May 25, 2012, the day after the commissioner's arrest.  She is trying to veryify with the Florence Crittenton Agency if that happened as a result of the arrest.

As for the third foster child, DCS says that child is 18-years old and opted out of DCS custody last week.

Isaacs also answered questions about Ownby's future on the Knox County Commission.  He says Knox County Law Director Joe Jarrret has been asked if Ownby will be present at a June 4 meeting to vote on a proposed $35 million budget increase for Knox County Schools and whether he will remain on the Knox County Commission and the Knox County Charter Review Committee.

The letter states, "Commissioner Ownby has no intention of resigning and will be in attendance at the June 4, 2012 meeting."

Ownby has said in the past he intends to vote against the school budget increase.

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