Broward Sheriff’s Office detention deputy Verol Cowans of Port St. Lucie, Florida has been arrested after a woman accused him of repeatedly sexually assaulting her starting when she was 7 years old.
Cowans, 58, is charged with four counts of sexual battery by an adult against a victim under 12. He is being held in Palm Beach County Jail. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the victim, who is now married and living elsewhere in Florida, spoke to investigators on February 11. Cowans, she alleged, started abusing her when she was 7 years old and continued until she was 11.
He initially fondled her under her skirt and underwear when he drove her to school and told her to not tell anyone, sources say.When she was 8, the victim’s mother moved to a different apartment and would often leave her daughter alone with Cowans. During those moments, Cowans reportedly took her to the bedroom and molested her.
The victim told investigators that Cowans would make her perform oral sex. He also allegedly continued to fondle her and showed her pornography so that she could “watch and see what the girl does,” the affidavit said. Cowans later penetrated her without using a condom.
The victim said she thought Cowans was a police officer because he wore police-like uniform and drove a marked vehicle. She said she had been intimidated by his profession and was afraid his fellow police officers would retaliate, and that was why she hadn’t come forward sooner.
On February 23, the affidavit says, investigators listened in on a phone conversation between the victim and Cowans. The victim told Cowans that she was working on forgiving him and that she wanted to know why he did those things to her and why he never reached out afterwards.
The victim said she remembered Cowans apologizing after her mother spoke to him, but he didn’t explain to the victim why he was sorry and even after his apology, the sexual assault continued when her mother wasn’t home.
Cowans, according to the affidavit, said he had found Christianity and that he understood the “ramifications of my actions. No. 1, whatever I did was totally wrong and there are no excuses or anything of the sort and I do, sincerely, with all my heart, apologize. I never thought you would want to talk to me, to be honest, and that is why I didn’t reach out.”
The conversation went on for 50 minutes and ended after Cowans offered to meet the victim to answer her questions and apologize to her in person.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) has suspended Cowans without pay. He has been a detention deputy for 12 years.
“The sexual battery charges Cowans is facing are very disturbing, and I demand lawful, honorable conduct from all BSO employees,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “Any employee found guilty of a criminal offense, especially as it relates to the nature of these allegations, will be permanently removed from service.”
South Florida Sex Crimes Attorney