Prosecutors: Kidnapping suspect tortured victim by ‘waterboarding’

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A judge denied a motion on rape and kidnapping charges against a Clark County man, saying they were two separate incidents.

Jeffrey Rowland, 51, of 460 Lisletown Lane, is scheduled to face a jury Monday when his trial for rape and kidnapping charges is set to begin.

Rowland was arrested by state police in August 2016 in Lexington, after the victim escaped at a truck stop in Madison County.

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The victim told police Rowland had gagged her, tied her up and tortured her for several hours before she was able to escape from a vehicle at the truck stop. She also said Rowland raped her.

Monday afternoon, Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue denied Rowland’s motion to combine the rape and kidnapping charges, though they could be later in the trial, depending on the evidence.

During Monday’s hearing, prosecutors said Rowland accused the victim of being unfaithful in the early morning hours of Aug. 4, 2016, and tied her to the bed by her hands and feet. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles Johnson said Rowland gagged the woman, put Vaseline in her nose and put a mask over her head before pouring water over her, an interrogation technique known as waterboarding.

“He was interrogating her…,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heidi Engel said, “and he was trying to elicit the name of the person she was having an affair with.”

Prosecutors said later in the hearing the victim made up a name of a person, to get Rowland to stop.

Rowland’s attorney Valetta Browne objected to the use of the term “waterboarding” as its context with terrorists would be prejudicial, but Logue said it was a valid term and word in the common language.

In another motion, Logue ruled three prior incidents of violence between Rowland and the victim were not admissable as evidence of a “signature crime.”

Prosecutors listed three previous dates of incidents between the two in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Browne said there were no previous allegations of sexual abuse or sexual violence.

Logue concurred there was a history of domestic violence, but there was not enough in common to warrant their inclusion at trial. Should Rowland be convicted, the evidence could be introduced at that point, she said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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