Cowan testifies he had no sexual contact with minor, male DNA found

LIMA — Testimony in the trial of a Lima man accused of sexually abusing his then-girlfriend’s 14-year-old foster daughter concluded on Wednesday.

David Cowan III, 37, is charged with three counts of first-degree felony rape, two counts of third-degree unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, second-degree felony attempted rape, fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition and third-degree misdemeanor sexual imposition for several incidents in 2021.

The Lima News does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assault. Cowan’s girlfriend will remain anonymous to protect the identity of the minor in this case.

The alleged victim and her then-foster mother both testified Tuesday that Cowan was in the girl’s room in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2021.

The minor, now 15, said she woke up that morning to Cowan over top of her, raping her, before getting up and going to the closet to pull his pants up as her foster mother came in the room. Her foster mother said that when she entered the room, she saw Cowan adjusting his pants and the minor lying in bed with her pajama pants and underwear down.

The girl testified to a previous rape and an incident in which she said Cowan was attempting to pull her head toward his penis but gave up after she continued to resist.

Allen County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Jared Breitigan and Izak Ackerman, testified Wednesday that they responded to the foster mother’s call at the home.

Breitigan said the woman told him she had found Cowan, her boyfriend, in her foster daughter’s room pulling or zipping his pants up in the closet, “trying to conceal himself.”

Breitigan said he spoke with Cowan, who said he was in the girl’s room checking the vent in her closet, as the man said she had complained that it was running overly warm.

Ackerman testified to the foster mother sharing with him an account consistent to what she told Breitigan. He said after he spoke with the minor, he went into her room and observed an unsmoked cigarette in her bed. He said the girl told him that she did not smoke.

Both deputies said they did not record audio or take notes of the incident. Ackerman said he wrote a report after responding.

Kristin Pohlman, a nurse with pediatric sexual assault training, testified that she performed a sexual assault examination on the child and did not observe visible injuries. She said this is not uncommon for sexual assault victims in her experience.

After questioned by Cowan’s lawyer, Kenneth Rexford, Pohlman said the girl’s hymen — a thin piece of tissue surrounding the opening of the vagina — was intact. She said this is not uncommon with sexual contact.

Erika Jimenez, an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation forensic scientist, testified that she analyzed samples taken from the alleged victim’s face, vagina and anus, finding male DNA likely to be Cowan’s or a male in his bloodline.

In his opening statement, Rexford said that Cowan and his girlfriend had a newborn baby sharing the same male DNA as his father who slobbered, peed and had constant diaper changes. Rexford appeared to be suggesting that the DNA discovered in the girl’s anal and vaginal areas belonged to the infant.

Cowan testified in his defense that he did not have any “inappropriate sexual contact” with his girlfriend’s foster daughter. He said he does not know why she accused him of doing so.

Cowan said that he had been up playing video and card games and drinking with his girlfriend’s daughter’s boyfriend who was spending the night on the couch, and around 6 a.m., he went to the garage to smoke a cigarette.

Cowan said he noticed that it was cold in the area, so checked the vents in the surrounding rooms to see if the heat was working. He said his girlfriend found him in her foster daughter’s room — located right next to the garage — when he had been checking a vent. He said he was pulling his pants up because they were too big and were sagging.

Cowan said he is not sure why his girlfriend thought he was assaulting her foster daughter. He did not address her claim that the minor had her pants down and was exposed, and prosecuting attorneys did not question him on this.

The trial will resume Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with closing arguments before the case is given to the jury for deliberation.