Change of judge approved

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Melissa BowermanFormer Madras High School track coach Melissa Bowerman, 43, who is facing charges of inappropriate sexual contact with a student athlete, was released to her husband Friday after 25 days in jail.

In the Jefferson County Circuit Court Aug. 15, Judge Dan Ahern reduced Bowerman's security from $100,000 to $50,000 and authorized her release to a third party, her husband, Jon Bowerman, who would have had to post $5,000 for her release.

In the Circuit Court July 25, Melissa Bowerman, pleaded not guilty to using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, a Class A felony, and second-degree sexual abuse and luring a minor, both Class C felonies. The Class A felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and the Class C felonies, by up to five years in prison.

She was arrested July 21, at her home in Fossil, after an investigation by Oregon State Police into allegations that she was having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old male on the track team.

Earlier this month, Bowerman's attorney, Jennifer Kimble, filed a motion to disqualify Judge Annette Hillman from hearing the case. Hillman signed off on the motion Aug. 4.

The reason for the motion was stated, in part, as, "the defendant perceives that said defendant cannot have a fair and impartial hearing or trial before such judge."

Noting that her client has never even met Hillman, Kimble said the filing was "a procedural matter."

"There were absolutely no ill feelings between my client and the judge," she said.

The next pretrial conference was set for Thursday, Aug. 28, at 10 a.m.

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