Thursday, July 30, 2009

Trooper Jay Gruwell Charged with Sexual Abuse on 5-year-old

A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper faces a felony charge of child sexual abuse based on a 5-year-old girl's allegation that he made her touch his genitals.

Trooper Jay Gruwell, a 23-year veteran of the force stationed in Lusk, waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday and was bound over to Campbell County District Court. District Judge Dan R. Price II has not yet set a date for his arraignment.

An affidavit by a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent states Gruwell, 54, was off-duty and visiting a home in Gillette at the time of the alleged incident in May.

The agent states in the affidavit that the girl told someone in the home that Gruwell exposed himself. She later told an investigator that Gruwell made her touch him.

According to the affidavit, Gruwell told agents that he exposed himself in the girl's presence. He said she fled when he asked her if she wanted to touch him.

Court records show that Cheyenne lawyer Gay Woodhouse represents Gruwell. An attempt to reach her for comment on Thursday was unsuccessful.

Col. Sam Powell, administrator of the Highway Patrol, said Gruwell has been on administrative leave since May 20.

Powell said Gruwell has an unblemished record with the patrol.

"I would remind everyone, whether you are a police officer or not, that you are innocent until proven guilty," Powell said.

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