By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
VERNON, Ala. – State charges surrounding sex-with-minors allegations are likely in Alabama against former Smithville coaching icon Dwight Bowling.
Sheriff Terry Perkins, of Lamar County, Ala., where Sulligent High School is located, said Tuesday that he feels “like something will come” from an ongoing investigation surrounding Bowling, who is on administrative leave from his job as Sulligent’s head football coach.
“We’ve still got several things to do” before any legal action is taken, he noted.
Bowling, 55, was arrested Sept. 17 as he drove home to Itawamba County from Alabama after a win by his Blue Devils football team.
Days later, he was indicted on five federal counts and arrested on 10 state charges from Monroe and Itawamba counties, mostly on allegations he carried minors across state lines for sex.
Some of the charges accuse Bowling of committing sexual acts against the minors at the Sulligent Field House.
He pleaded not guilty to the state charges and is likely to do the same today during a federal hearing in Oxford.
Perkins said his investigator still has work to do and he’s waiting to discuss the case with District Attorney Chris McCool on how they will proceed.
“We’re still running down leads and checking things,” Perkins said, noting his office’s involvement with federal and Mississippi investigations of Bowling.
He said his investigation includes interviews with the same two males whose allegations are the basis of the existing state and federal charges.
“I feel like something will come from this,” he added, saying he expects the charges to be similar to those that allege sexual acts in Alabama.
Meanwhile, the longtime coach, with two state championships across 28 years in Smithville, is in the Lafayette County Detention Center held without bond.
He retired from Smithville about five years ago, then took a similar job in Sulligent.
Bowling has had a distinguished career as a football coach, and was so widely respected in Smithville that they named the football field in his honor a few years ago.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.