Registered sex felon charged
Man who works as clown accused of molesting
By Rick Klein
The Dallas Morning News - 10/16/99
Springs police have arrested a registered sex offender -
known to many area children as "Sparkie the Clown" - after
two girls told police that he molested them.
allege that Ronald Steve Chewning Jr. had inappropriate
contact with two neighborhood children this summer while
not in costume. The girls, ages 12 and 13, told investigators
that he touched them in the front yard of his Balch Springs
home, police Detective Chris Meehan said.
he moved in, they all became friends," the detective said.
Mr. Chewning, he said, moved from Denton County, where he
had been convicted of molesting a girl.
30-year-old suspect has admitted having contact with the
girls in Balch Springs but said any inappropriate touching
was accidental, Detective Meehan said. He said he was merely
playing with the girls in the front yard of his home in
the 11700 block of Crumpton Drive, the detective said.
said he was showing them wrestling moves," he said. "He
said it [any inappropriate contact] was by accident. They
said it made them feel uncomfortable."
of the girls said Mr. Chewning touched her on several occasions,
police said. The other girl reported being molested once,
Detective Meehan said.
Chewning was arrested Wednesday on two second-degree felony
counts of indecency with a child by contact. He was being
held Friday in the Balch Springs Jail in lieu of $150,000
bail and could not be reached for comment.
have not released the alleged victims' names because of
say they have no evidence that Mr. Chewning molested children
while working as a clown but are trying to contact people
who have hired him. Mr. Chewning ran a one-man clown business
and worked as Sparkie at birthday parties and civic functions
in the area, Detective Meehan said.
last weekend at a park in Balch Springs, the detective said.
"We want to see if he uses the clown costume to access children."
Chewning pleaded guilty to indecency with a child by contact,
a second-degree felony, in 1994 for an incident involving
a girl in Little Elm in Denton County.
to court records, he touched the breast and genitals of
a 12-year-old. Mr. Chewning was given eight years' probation;
if he had served it successfully, no conviction would have
appeared on his record. But he violated his probation and
began a three-year prison sentence in December 1995, according
to state records.
prison in February 1998 and was placed under state supervision
- which is similar to probation - for the remainder of his
prison sentence, records show.
the terms of his release, he was required to register as
a sex offender and to avoid contact with children, said
Stennett Posey, a spokesman for the parole division of the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Chewning was known to have worked as Sparkie the Clown when
he registered as a sex offender, according to the state
database. He registered in Denton County and re-registered
in Balch Springs after moving there in August, Detective
Springs police believe Mr. Chewning did not restart his
clown business until early this year. That would have been
shortly after his state supervision ended, Detective Meehan
prevents a convicted sex offender who is no longer under
state supervision from having contact with children - as
a clown or in any other capacity, Mr. Posey said.
across any great stories or articles on clowns lately? Tell
me about it