As we mentioned earlier, Nathan Bowen, president of the LGBT center in Enid, Okla., has been arrested on charges of “lewd molestation of minor” following allegations that he exchanged sexually explicit texts and later engaged in oral sex with a 15-year-old he met at the center, according to reports by News 9 in Oklahoma City.

Nathan Bowen

But Brittany Novotny, Bowen’s attorney, said in a written statement that the 15-year-old attempted to instigate a sexual encounter with Bowen and when Bowen refused, the teen lied about the incident to his mother and police to get back at Bowen for turning him down.

According to police reports, the teenager said he and Bowen began sending each other sexually explicit text messages on Friday, Feb. 18, after meeting at the LGBT center. Bowen then picked the teen up at a park on Sunday, Feb. 20, and took him to a home in the area where Bowen performed oral sex on the boy after asking him to take off his clothes. When Bowen asked the teen to perform oral sex on him and return with him to Bowen’s home, the boy refused, reports said.

The teen told police that he then told Bowen he needed to go home and Bowen returned the boy to the park where his mother picked him up. The mother called police after finding the sexually explicit texts on her son’s phone.

But Novotny’s statement offered a very different version of events, saying Bowen and the teenager had met at a Valentine’s Day event at the center on Saturday, Feb. 19, and that the teen had volunteered to help with chores at the center on Sunday. While the two were engaged in the chores, according to Novotny, the teenager — who is physically larger than Bowen — began kissing Bowen and asking him to have sex. When Bowen refused, the boy became angry, telling Bowen, “I always get what I want.”

Novotny also said examination of forensic evidence in the case will support her client’s version of events.

On a personal note, as the parent of two teenage boys — neither as old as the boy in this case — the very mention of “child molestation” triggers an instinctive protective reflex, not to mention nearly unreasonable anger, in me. Child molesters, in my opinion, should at the very least be jailed and never see the light of day again.

But as a reasonable adult, I know that “accused” is not the same as “guilty,” and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

As a gay person, seeing this kind of story coming out of Oklahoma, not known as a “gay-friendly” place by any stretch, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Bowen, guilty or not, would have already been convicted, sentenced and probably even lynched. That’s why I was surprised to read the comments posted to News 9’s online story. Instead of immediately jumping to the conclusion that Bowen is guilty, many of the commenters are pointing out the possibility that the teen in this case is making up accusations to get back at someone who wouldn’t give him what he wanted.

One commenter even noted: “And just because he [Bowen] is gay doesn’t make him a molester,” and a second commenter agreed! Guess there is hope for Oklahoma after all.