| 3 min read | by Lonnie Huhman | email@example.com |
In the wake of Dexter-based photographer Robert Bowden being accused of engaging in inappropriate interactions with young women, including teenagers and Dexter Community Schools’ students, The Sun Times News reached out to him on Sept. 17 with the following questions and received these answers on Sept. 18 through his attorney William Amadeo via email.
You can find the DCS letters here: Dexter Community Schools bans local photographer.
STN: Why do you believe you are being accused?
BOWDEN: I’m sure that the copyright infringement case is a driving factor. I opened up two different copyright infringement cases that had to do with people at Dexter about my photos being used in conjunction with defamatory statements being made about my profession. Before these allegations were made, Dexter and myself were having discussions about copyright infringement of my work.
STN: How did it get to this point?
BOWDEN: I would like to know that myself.
STN: What type of work have you done for the district?
BOWDEN: Since 2011, I have provided sport and event photograph for Dexter Community Schools. This includes photographing sports teams, action photograph for the school yearbook and for parents to order prom, homecomings, graduation and other school events. I have longstanding relationships with many of the Dexter teams and parents who know me very well. For the past 8 years my work has been featured around town and even a few of my images are in the high school cafeteria wall mural. My work has been featured in the Dexter Chamber of Commerce publications and on the Dexter Community Schools websites.
STN: Do you have evidence of wrongful accusations you would share?
BOWDEN: I do but my lawyer will not allow me to share such.
AMADEO: If criminal charges are falsely brought against my client we will be sharing a lot of things. Some of this may end up in civil litigation if Rob takes my advice and sues Dexter but at this point Rob is still shocked by these allegations and still loves Dexter. I don’t share the same admiration due to the acts of Eric Delaporte (attorney for Dexter schools).
STN: As the district states, why did you walk away from the investigative interview with the district?
AMADEO: That is funny. Another lie by Eric Delaporte. I had my client walk out because every time my client tried to answer a question Eric Delaporte would cut Rob off. It’s amazing how Delaporte is attempting to twist the facts.
STN: How is this affecting your life and livelihood?
BOWDEN: Due to these allegations my life has been shattered and my career has faced major setbacks. I have received threatening phone calls and have fear of even walking down the street in Dexter. I’m shocked because so many of the powers that be told me this was a huge misunderstanding and now they have lied about me in the press.
STN: Do you truly want the young women who made accusations to take a polygraph?
BOWDEN: I do not want to have anybody have to go through what I am having to endure. With that stated, if I’m going to be falsely accused of something, I do feel that whomever is making the allegations should also be subjected to a thorough investigation.
STN: Do you have any policies in place when you are doing photo shoots with minors to ensure their safety?
BOWDEN: I have multiple policies in place to protect not only minors but all of my clients.
- Any time I am photographing an athletic team there is always another adult such as a coach present. Often a parent or two are also there from the booster clubs. There is never any one on one contact with a student during my school photoshoots. I also do not put my hands on students during photos, but have one of their team mates help fix their hair for example.
- My policy is that for anyone under 18 to have a parent or guardian with them for any photoshoots. Both the parent and student sign a service contract and photo release.
- Anyone over 18 is always welcome to bring a friend or family member to any photography session.
- My studio is equipped with security cameras-We have offered to display video footage but there seemed to be no interest from Dexter.
STN: Is there anything you would like to say to those who have made these accusations?
BOWDEN: I’m just shocked by the wild allegations that have been made. To see your life destroyed with false allegations by a community and school that you love is heartbreaking.
STN: What’s next for you?
BOWDEN: Clearing my name and serving my clients. I still have a client base that believe in me and know these allegations are false. I will work hard for them and continue my career.
STN: Is there anything you would like to say that I haven’t asked about?
AMADEO: My client has passed a Neil Myres polygraph and is willing to take a Michigan State Police test. When this was presented to Eric Delaporte he stated how he has been trained to beat polygraphs and he put no stock in polygraphs. That is an insult to the Michigan State Police Polygraph Unit and to Neil Myres. We have offered hard copies of everything requested, we have stated that we have videos of all parties that come in for security measures and we did pass a polygraph. Guilty people don’t pass polygraphs, lawyers that have no case leak lies to the press.